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Advise and Consent

(Advise and Consent #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  9,350 ratings  ·  221 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
Paperback, 616 pages
Published June 28th 1981 by Avon Books (first published July 11th 1959)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  9,350 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Richard Derus
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book Circle Reads 25

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: 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 nati
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lets see- a controversial appointment to Secretary of State is voted on by the Senate-seems I have heard that somewhere before-LOL
Dialogue was brilliant which is how I judge most books- well deserving of the Pulitzer it won and was based on a Wyoming US Senator who shot himself after his son was caught in a homosexual sting with police in the 1950;s.
Strongly recommend this and not just for political junkies.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of political fiction
Allen Drury was, for some years, the U.S. Senate correspondent for United Press International. This gave him a deep background of inside knowledge about the Senate, the Washington press corps, and the larger national and international political contexts of that day (this was published in 1959) in which they operated. And like many fiction authors before him, journalism honed his professional writing skills. In these respects, for him writing political fiction was a natural evolution; and with my ...more
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Douglas Wilson
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this book one other time, many decades ago, probably in high school or when I was in the Navy. All I remembered about it was that I had read it once, and that it was a political novel about a Senate confirmation battle in Washington, which could be guessed from the title. Well, I read it again and enjoyed it thoroughly. The novel was originally published in 1959 and won the Pulitzer in 1960. Drury does a masterful job of writing a novel about post-war America with a complete fictional cas ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
“Because of Bob Leffingwell, the Administration was going to have a hard time. Why couldn’t he have picked any one of ten thousand other outstanding Americans? Why the one most likely to cause trouble?”

Sound familiar? It’s a paragraph that could have been written in today’s climate.

Alan Drury received the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for his fictional account of the detailed interactions of the Senate and the White House around a Secretary of State cabinet confirmation. More importantly it is a stor
Frank Stein
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it

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
Scott Cox
The United States Senate has the constitutional right to “advise and consent” to the nomination of the President’s selection for Secretary of State. This rigorous approval process is the basis for Allen Drury’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Throughout this massive (656 pages) work, Drury endeavors to posit both the good and the bad, the “hectic and shabby, but sometimes the moving and noble” aspects to America’s politicians as well as our governmental system of checks and balances. One reas ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
There are good parts of this book--it won a Pulitzer (overturning the committee, as it would 13 years later to deny Gravity's Rainbow, so, grain of salt), and some of the descriptions of pain and fatigue of the politickLing life are very evocative and telling.

Overall, though, politically it's detestable, and even if I agreed with it, its lionization of Senators Doing American Things with honor and dignity is incredibly stupid, especially considering the outcome--reasonable people disagree, but o
Christopher Saunders
Allen Drury's Advise and Consent chronicles a hectic confirmation battle in the nation's capital. The President, secretly dying, wants to cement his legacy by appointing the progressive Bob Leffingwell as Secretary of State. The nomination instantly ignites a firestorm that sucks the entire Senate into its orbit, leading to contentious hearings, personal backstabbing, blackmail and even two deaths. Long considered the classic novel about American politics, it's still an engrossing, if sometimes ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Read over 40 years ago...and Tim Russert said that anyone who read and loved this book would forever be a political junkie. So true. I very much doubt that Allan Drury or Tim Russert could ever imagine a political system as divisive and corrupt as the one we’re currently experiencing.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. Completely captivating and full of surprises.
Christopher MacMillan
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.

Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzers-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars


This book put me in quite the slump for the first half. Between all the names and not much plot development, I could only stomach about 20 pages a day. However, once Book 3 rolled around (a little past the halfway point), things took a turn, and the trivialities, scandals, and inner workings of Washington DC were on full display.

Having dozens and dozens of names thrown at me in the beginning was initially jarring, but I grew to appreciate the central characters in their own ways
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought it was hot stuff then. Now its just sad that it's so mild compared to current Washington politics.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Allen Drury won the Pulitzer Prize for this book in 1960. If you are a political junkie like me you will love this book about a Senate confirmation process for a Secretary of State nominee. The writing is superb and is very similar to what we see in current day on Senate confirmations. Politics has not changed much over the years. I give this book 5 stars.
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer-prize
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
Nicholas Whyte
Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it

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
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Robert Palmer
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Allen drury's Advise and Consent is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel,the title comes from the United States Constitution which provides that the President of the United States " shall nominate and by and with the advise and consent of the Senate shall appoint Ambassador's,Judges of the Supreme Court and other officers of the United States.
This novel is a fictional account of the nomination of a prominent liberal,Robert Leffingwell,to the position of Secretary of State during the Cold War with Russ
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bazin
There was in this system the enormous vitality of free men, running their own government in their own way. If they were weak, at times, it was because they had the freedom to be weak; if they were strong, upon occasion, it was because they had the freedom to be strong; if they were indomitable, when the chips were down, it was because freedom made them so.

If you crossed the Three Musketeers with House of Cards, you’d have a bastard child who looked a lot like Advise & Consent.

And the writing tru
Richard Thompson
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Advise and Consent" provides an insider's view of the workings of the Senate in the early 60s. In some ways it is a high quality civics lesson, showing the methods, style and procedures of the Senate in committees and on the floor. There is an elaborate formality in the Senate that is part show, part tradition and part just a practical way of keeping the wheels of government turning The book felt more than a little dated in the way it dealt with homosexuality, communism, relations with Russia, ...more
Larry Hostetler
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Andrew Ferguson
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-read-again
As someone who has lived in Washington DC for most of my life, this book is full of an honesty and an insight that I have rarely seen when discussing my home city. Although some of the details of the book definitely date it and make it a fascinating time capsule to the political climate of DC during the Cold War, many of the personalities and systems of power are as true today as ever. While many who have not worked in Washington (particularly on the Hill) might bemoan the sections where Roberts ...more
Allen Drury was a political reporter in Washington DC for fifteen years. Understanding that fact is key to understanding Advise and Consent, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel which is perhaps the quintessential Washington book in the same way Mr Smith Goes to Washington is the quintessential Washington film. It’s a journalist’s view of government, and in particular a DC correspondent’s view of government. That view is often not coterminous with reality, then or now. The fact that this novel is sixt ...more
John Guffey
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer-winners
"Why do we live and work and strive, only to achieve no more than new destructions of one another?"

" 'If you do that you won't be liked...' 'I don't give a damn about being liked,' he had retorted impatiently, 'but I sure as hell intend to be respected.' "

"There are ways of dealing with other people which are just and honest and honorable and decent; and these have not been changed."

There are a lot of good quotes from this one. I loved the portion of the book about Brigham Anderson and would giv
May 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jerry Pogan
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very well written book of political suspense and intrigue. Written during the height of the Cold War the book is about the President's pick for Secretary of State and the Congressional hearings to confirm or reject him. The book details a lot of the inside fighting that goes on behind the scenes, the personalities involved and revolves around the Communist scare that was rampant during this period. All in all an excellent read.
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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 journal ...more

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