Advise and Consent (Advise and Consent, Book 1)
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Advise and Consent (Advise and Consent #1)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  5,712 ratings  ·  100 reviews
ADVISE AND CONSENT is a study of political animals in their natural habitat and is universally recognized as THE Washington novel. It begins with Senate confirmation hearings for a liberal Secretary of State and concludes two weeks later, after debate and controversy have exploded this issue into a major crisis.

"I can recall no other novel in which there is so well present...more
Paperback, 616 pages
Published June 28th 1981 by Avon Books (first published 1959)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Book Circle Reads 25

Rating: 4* of five

The Book Description: ADVISE AND CONSENT is a study of political animals in their natural habitat and is universally recognized as THE Washington novel. It begins with Senate confirmation hearings for a liberal Secretary of State and concludes two weeks later, after debate and controversy have exploded this issue into a major crisis.

"I can recall no other novel in which there is so well presented a president's dilemma when his awful responsibility for the na...more
Rob
This book won a Pulitzer 50 years ago and was made into a film by Otto Preminger. I'd seen the movie years ago; one of its notable aspects was a gay subplot, which entailed a scene that was the first time a wide audience had seen an amusingly lurid depiction of a gay bar.

I'd always meant to go back and read the (long out of print) book, so I finally slogged through a library copy. It's written in a stilted, antique prose style that's akin to a verbal equivalent of the mid-20th century newscastin...more
Christopher MacMillan
The majority of "Advise and Consent"'s mammoth 760 pages are intelligent, explosive, and magnetic, and would have warranted nothing less than a 5-star rating -- a very rare quality for what is essentially a page-turner.



But in the last 200 pages, author Allen Drury begins to lose focus and lose steam, and as a result, the book starts to lag. This is so frustrating, given the sheer magnitude and awesomeness that the book began with and carried straight through towards the end. What a shame.



"Advise...more
Judy
Nov 06, 2011 Judy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: political fiction fans

One of the burdens of My Big Fat Reading Project (see the Writing page on my profile) is slogging my way through long tomes like Advise and Consent. It was the #4 bestseller in 1959 and went on to be the #1 bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner in 1960. The New York Times Book Review stated, "Advise and Consent will stand as one of the finest and most gripping political novels of our era..." The book stayed on that paper's bestseller list for over 100 weeks!

It is the story of a fictional American...more
Carole
Jun 07, 2008 Carole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I love this book! I am so glad I was reminded of it. This was first published in 1959, and The Literary Guild (my book club at the time) chose it as a monthly selection. I enjoyed it at the time, but I wasn't terribly interested in politics 'way back then so I really didn't get the bigger picture during that first read.

If you are into politics (and who isn't these days?) and especially if you'd like to know how Congress -- the Senate in particular -- works, read this. It's a thumping good read i...more
Karla (Mossy Love Grotto)
Mar 15, 2011 Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of vintage politics, soap operas
Shelves: politics, fiction
I devoured this book over the course of a few days several years ago. While Drury's style is a bit repetitious now and then, especially with character's tics and quirks, it was a rich little soap opera about confirmation hearings and all the grandstanding, political haymaking, and behind-the-scenes lives of the politicians. Most memorable was the rising star senator who's in the closet and living a lie. It was titillating for the era, and he naturally doesn't have an HEA, but he was among the mo...more
Paul
The first 200 or so pages of "Advise and Consent" pages have the reader nostalgic for a Washington that no longer exists -- one where statesmanship, civility and cooperation mattered, and our elected representatives didn't rush home after Congress adjourned at 5:00 on Thursday to gladhand constituents and schmooze potential donors, they stayed in DC and formed the kind of lasting bonds that made compromise and progress possible. The next 200 pages of "A&C" (as the author so cutely calls it i...more
Beatles24
An evocative portrayal of Washington politics - Peccadiloes, leadership, stunning arrogance, and a sense of public service all mixed into a hodge podge of a narrative. I loved the way intrigue is explained in this book and the machinery of government doing all it can to sometimes help and other times derail the process of providing basic services to its people. On the whole, a bit of a labored read but enough to keep it moving at a nice pace.
Mia Kleve
Fascinating political thriller.

This isn't usually the kind of book that I find myself picking up, but I have to say that after a slow start I had no trouble getting into it. And if you are interested at all in the inner workings of government, then you should definitely read this one.

The book follows the process of the President of the United States nominating a candidate for the position of Secretary of State, and the Senate confirmation hearings, and a set of scandals which could derail the wh...more
Ron
I thought it was hot stuff then. Now its just sad that it's so mild compared to current Washington politics.
Howard
Wow, what a political thriller! Written more than 50 years ago it goes behind the scenes of DC politics in a big and detailed way. It is a massive book, more than 700 pages in my old yellowed small print paperback. Slow moving in places as the author really gets into the developing characters in profound depth, while a real page turner in other places making it hard to put down. Understandable why it was almost two years on the bestseller list in its day. Much of this book is still relevant and...more
Bill Peacock
Nov 16, 2010 Bill Peacock rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bill by: bpeacock@excellentthought.net
I have been aware of Allen Drury for sometime because I had one of sequels to Advise and Consent in my bookshelf--it was originally from my mother's library. When I saw that National Review listed Advise and Consent as one of the best conservative novels, I decided I had to read it.

Since I didn't have a copy, I started with what I did have, its sequel, Preserve and Protect. That meant when I did read Advise and Consent, I already knew the ultimate outcome of the story. It wasn't a bad way to re...more
Frank Stein

A strange and thoughtful novel about the nomination of a Secretary of State. This is perhaps not an obvious subject for a page-turner, but this book won the Pulitzer back when it was published in 1959 and was quickly turned into a successful (and worthwhile) film. At moments it even approaches greatness.

The book focuses on a handful of Senators and their struggles over the confirmation of someone about whom they have their doubts. It is clear that Drury used his time reporting on the Senate in...more
Roxanne Russell
This book was the last on my list to finish and be current on having read all of the Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction since 1918. It was not a particularly remarkable capstone, but it was a good read.
Drury has skills as an observer of humanity and political systems (from a Western centric, white male pov) and knack for humor. He clearly knew about Washington DC. He uses plot movement narrative strategies that kep me interested- built suspense, juxtaposed events to processes in ways that weigh...more
Jim Puskas
To fairly evaluate this book, one must bear in mind that it was written in 1959. Although that was hardly a time of naiive idealism, being the middle of the Cold War, our North American view of the world has surely undergone considerable loss of innocence since then. I thought it a great book in its time, probably THE preeminent political novel. In my mind it remains so today, but re-reading it this year was a far different experience. The political dance in Washington continues of course but ou...more
Michael Austin
Though it reeks of the Cold War, Advise and Consent has a number of surprisingly modern themes. It treated Mormonism, homosexuality, and the politics of personal destruction before any of the three had an official “moment.” It was the bestselling novel of 1959, and a Pulitzer Prize winner to boot. And, for all that, it has not been in print for years.
Advise and Consent tells the story of a controversial political nomination. A dying president names Robert Leffingwell—a well-known liberal, a pro...more
John
Advise and Consent is a Pulitzer Prize winner that’s sat on my shelf for many years. It’s always seemed interesting, but 760 (long) pages is always daunting to me. I think that the current election season, though, got me in the mood to tackle it, and I’m glad that it did. It’s been one of the best reads of the summer.

Advise and Consent is a big soap opera (which is not a bad thing, in this instance) that’s very loosely based on some pretty scandalous events that took place in the Senate during t...more
Larry Hostetler
Aug 04, 2013 Larry Hostetler rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Larry by: No one
Shelves: 2013
Well-written, as one would hope with a Pulitzer-Prize winning book (although it's not always been the case). It provides an inside look at the workings of the Senate, at least as it was in the late 1950s. Interesting now in its presentation of the USSR getting to the moon first. But prescient in the assessment of the varying sides on how to deal with the Soviet Union - whether war-mongering or accommodation. The way in which Washington works, both politically and governmentally, is shown, and in...more
^
Sep 04, 2014 ^ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Orators & those interested in politics.
This book challenges its prospective reader with an impressive 638 pages; each page of text is of 47(!) close-spaced lines (compare to 39 lines per page in a 1999 ppbk of Sebastian Faulks’ “Charlotte Gray”, and 23 lines per page in a 2005 ppbk of Frank Beddor’s “The Looking Glass Wars”. How long, I wondered, would it realistically take to actually read this American metaphorical behemoth?

I ploughed straight in and made something of a pig’s ear of the first twenty or so pages. What chance had I...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/1556070.html

Another little reading project of mine: as well as reading the best-selling novels of 100 year ago, as I have done this year and last year, I decided to try the best-selling novel of 50 years ago, a political tale by a long-serving Washington journalist, which soon after (1962) became a film starring Henry Fonda and Charles Laughton (the latter's last role before he died).

The plot concerns the nomination of a new Secretary of State by an ailing President...more
MacK
Dec 03, 2011 MacK rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: am-lit
Right before I read this book, amidst a fury of partisan vitriol and intense political rancor the US Congress grudgingly voted to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. This came six months after another intense budget fight that threatened to shut down the federal government, and fifteen months after a supposedly cataclysmic vote on the nation’s health care policy. In each case I’ve had to think: “why can’t we all just get along?” In reading Advise and Consent I realized that the best answer to my qu...more
James
Re-reading Advise and Consent(and watching the 1962 Otto Preminger movie by the same name), after a span of several years, I am reminded of my original reading and seeing the film version in the late 1960s. Drury followed up this first novel with a handful of sequels and over a dozen other books, but none of them came close to the popularity of the 1959 hit — ninety-three weeks on the best-seller list, a play, a movie and a Pulitzer (the Pulitzer Board overriding their committee’s recommendation...more
Chris
You think Congress acted badly during the debt ceiling debate? That's nothing compared to Allen Drury's scenario.

I have seen the movie several times and enjoyed it, but the book has so many more rich textures to it that it's worth the read. There were about 200 pages there (at 760 pages, it's a chore in places) where it was impossible to put down. His descriptions of Sen. Brigham Anderson's story are impeccably written.

It's a little dated as references to the evil Russians and the race to the mo...more
Steven
Although this massive novel drags in some parts, it's a fascinating insight into the workings of the U.S. government (at least, how it may have been in the late 1950s/early 1960s; the current partisan bickering and grandstanding makes this story seem like a chronicle of a long lost era). The story, involving the Senate confirmation of a controversial Secretary of State nominee, takes numerous detours to explore the lives and histories of some of the principal characters, many of which are quite...more
Donna
Read this as a freshman in high school and was so strongly impressed by the statesmanship of the men in this political novel that I chose political science as a second major in college.

I have never missed a major election since I was 18 and only 2 primary votes, in all that time.

Makes you want to stand up and sing the National Anthem. I get goosebumps every time I read selections from it on a library shelf, rereading the best parts. Just like the feeling I get when Harrison Ford, gets on the C-...more
Geo Forman
Certainly readable but important to remember all the fears associated with USSR at the time of publication, mid-50s. Obviously written to reveal the inner workings of the senate, if only it worked as well now. No mention of lobbyists and frequent bipartisan cooperation. I liked the way the author moved from one main character to another to tell his story from different perspectives, majority leader, older statesman, established senator with designs on presidency.
Bob Almond
Outstanding political novel that was the start of series of novels picking up where the last left off and in one case splitting depending on the identity of the victim. All in all a great read with good character development but twists and turns that kept you turning the pages.
Debbie
I can see why this was rated so highly at the time the time that it was written -- Drury's Washington characters were rich and well-drawn. As a Washingtonian myself, I think his ability to capture the different kinds of personal and political influences that move this town was insightful and entertaining. However, the book hinges on the what I believed, even as a middle schooler in the 60s, was a hysterical fear of the Soviets based on a testosterone-driven pissing match. As a progressive, I fou...more
Aly
This is rather long, and not the most fun read in the world, but it was really interesting, hence the good rating. It's a look at the inner workings of Washington politics, so it's no surprise that as someone who has limited patience for politics, it alternated between tedious and fascinating. The books set in the 1950s that I typically read are about racial tensions or the role of women, so I enjoyed seeing another side of that era that I was unfamiliar with (especially since it was not just se...more
Jerry Goss
Very good story of political intrigue. The US Senate battles the President over his nomination for Secretary of Defense. Excellent character development
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77616
In late '43, Allen Drury was a 25-year old army veteran looking for work. A position as the US Senate correspondent for United Press International provided him not only with employment, but with insider knowledge of the Senate. In addition to fulfilling his duties as a reporter, he kept a journal of his views of the Senate & individual senators. In addition to the Senate personalities, his jou...more
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“Son, this is a Washington, D.C. kind of lie. It's when the other person knows you're lying, and also knows you know he knows.” 0 likes
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