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At last, a White House reminiscence that pulls no punches! Herbert Wadlough, personal assistant to President N. Tucker (TNT), offers his unique and utterly self-serving inside view of the historic years 1989-1993 of the ill-fated Tucker administration, in which he played such a crucial role. From the inauguration crisis--when President Reagan refused to vacate the White At last, a White House reminiscence that pulls no punches! Herbert Wadlough, personal assistant to President N. Tucker (TNT), offers his unique and utterly self-serving inside view of the historic years 1989-1993 of the ill-fated Tucker administration, in which he played such a crucial role. From the inauguration crisis--when President Reagan refused to vacate the White House--to the epochal War on Bermuda, to the delicate negotiations (sexual, for the most part) between the President and his First Lady, Wadlough gives an account that is open, honest, and hilarious. "This is the best piece of American political satire in years."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer "This is a brilliant satire.... A witty, very funny, intricate spoof. Buckley gives new meaning to the phrase "He'll never work again in politics.'"--Bob Woodward


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At last, a White House reminiscence that pulls no punches! Herbert Wadlough, personal assistant to President N. Tucker (TNT), offers his unique and utterly self-serving inside view of the historic years 1989-1993 of the ill-fated Tucker administration, in which he played such a crucial role. From the inauguration crisis--when President Reagan refused to vacate the White At last, a White House reminiscence that pulls no punches! Herbert Wadlough, personal assistant to President N. Tucker (TNT), offers his unique and utterly self-serving inside view of the historic years 1989-1993 of the ill-fated Tucker administration, in which he played such a crucial role. From the inauguration crisis--when President Reagan refused to vacate the White House--to the epochal War on Bermuda, to the delicate negotiations (sexual, for the most part) between the President and his First Lady, Wadlough gives an account that is open, honest, and hilarious. "This is the best piece of American political satire in years."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer "This is a brilliant satire.... A witty, very funny, intricate spoof. Buckley gives new meaning to the phrase "He'll never work again in politics.'"--Bob Woodward

30 review for The White House Mess

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    Proof that Republicans Can Tell Funny Stories Christopher Buckley is a very funny man. I know this not just because I’ve read a few of his books, which generally “kept me in stitches” (whatever that means), but also because I actually spent much of an evening with him a few weeks ago. He’d come to Berkeley to do a “reading” from his newest book, They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?, and somehow I’d been invited to introduce him to the audience of about 150 people who were there to hear him. I managed to Proof that Republicans Can Tell Funny Stories Christopher Buckley is a very funny man. I know this not just because I’ve read a few of his books, which generally “kept me in stitches” (whatever that means), but also because I actually spent much of an evening with him a few weeks ago. He’d come to Berkeley to do a “reading” from his newest book, They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?, and somehow I’d been invited to introduce him to the audience of about 150 people who were there to hear him. I managed to coax out two or maybe three laughs during my introduction and the questions I later posed. He elicited — oh, maybe 600. Because this was no “reading.” Like the consummate pro he is, he didn’t actually read from the book. He simply talked extemporaneously and, later, answered questions from the audience. The man is an accomplished stand-up comedian. The White House Mess was written and published during the Reagan Administration, after (or perhaps during) Buckley’s turn as chief speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush. The book masquerades as a White House memoir – a send-up of life inside the White House that focuses on the travails of the First Famly and on the high stakes feuds among their staff. The plot revolves around an old-fashioned Marxist-Leninist coup in Bermuda, the First Son’s missing hamster, a young First Lady who aches to become a Hollywood star again, a parody of a weak-kneed and wholly unsuited Democratic President, and a collection of snobs, misfits, and alcoholics who, somehow, manage to hold down jobs in the White House. Oh, and by the way: the title refers to the dining facilities, which are called the “mess” because they’re run by the Navy. If the foregoing paragraph hints that The White House Mess is a parody of Democratic politics, consider that hint confirmed here. Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, Jr., of National Review fame, is indeed a Republican (even though he endorsed Barack Obama in 2008).They Eat Puppies, Buckley’s latest novel, was hysterically funny. (You can read my review of it here.) The White House Mess was his first. The fact that I did NOT find it hysterically funny but only occasionally so is no doubt the result of Buckley’s writing having matured as a writer from 1986, when Mess was published, to 2012, when Puppies saw the light of day. It’s also true, of course, that the latest book dealt with fresh material that reflected today’s reality, while the earliest one deals with a time that many readers could view only as ancient history. And, of course, I’m a Democrat. (From www.malwarwickonbooks.com)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The White House Mess by Christopher Buckley (pp. 224) One of Buckley’s earliest novels is a clear miss. While microscopic bits of the satirical style that makes his later novels such fun are evidenced in this work, they are few and far between. This may be because the material is just too close to his personal experience as a White House aide. The main character, Herb Wadlough, is a long time friend and now advisor to the President. The White House Mess is supposed to be a personal memoir of his The White House Mess by Christopher Buckley (pp. 224) One of Buckley’s earliest novels is a clear miss. While microscopic bits of the satirical style that makes his later novels such fun are evidenced in this work, they are few and far between. This may be because the material is just too close to his personal experience as a White House aide. The main character, Herb Wadlough, is a long time friend and now advisor to the President. The White House Mess is supposed to be a personal memoir of his experience behind the scenes. In attempting to provide both humor and color into the crazy details of the behind the scene goings on in the White House, Buckley starts his anecdotes long winded, rarely gives a payoff, and doesn’t tell us anything in the process. We’re often confused as to whether the material is supposed to be funny. We don’t know what characters to like or dislike. And when we think we may know, the story roughly jumps to another topic. The chapters themselves often involve topics so mundane you are left to wonder whether the topic was a sanitized inside joke that lost any possible meat in Buckley’s translation from real life to the absurd. The concept has potential and room to soar, but like the title, this book is just a mess. The novel’s redeeming value is showing us the early glimpses of a great satirist and encouraging all would-be writers that even the greats started off on rough footing. Though watching that lesson in action is more painful than fun.

  3. 4 out of 5

    N N

    Spoof political memoir written in 1986. The world was monumentally sane then, comparatively speaking, so one feels this barely scratched the surface of the genre. But hilarious in its limited way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marion Granigan

    I have to admit - I only got through about two thirds of this. I found it mostly amusing, with the occasional chuckle out loud and one or two loud guffaws. Then it kept on going, and became tedious. It seemed to keep just missing the acerbic wit and keen insight that I expect from Christopher Buckley.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David Hogg

    Until last November, I'd have laughed this book off as comedy fiction, but actually this is almost a portentous novel with some parallels to the current US administration. It reminds me a little of the Adrian Mole books, in that the narrator is naive and not entirely honest with himself, but that is no bad thing as the Adrian Mole books were also good fun.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Buckley perfectly captures the feel and tone of the typical Washington memoir. His sardonic sense of humor is more witty than funny, but I laughed out loud at several situations. It's told more as a series of remeberances rather than a linear plot, but once I got into the flow of storytelling, I enjoyed it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Luke

    Christopher Buckley has written any number of satirical books. Most of them can be fairly classified as "quite droll". This one stands out from the pack in that it doesn't cause wry chuckles, but actual laughter. It is, in a word, fun. Absurdity is piled upon absurdity with enthusiasm and joy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Fatima Siddique

    The "humor" in this book did not age well. A lot of the jokes rest entirely on the assumption that the reader will find minorities, women, and gays as inherently funny as the reader. If you don't, there's not much to laugh at.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Woody

    I normally love Buckley’s work, but I could not get into this. It was boring, to be honest.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I think I might have enjoyed this more if I didn’t suspect some of the same insanity was currently going on

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Fairly short read. Hard to ignore the "casual" racism and sexism sprinkled throughout. I kept waiting for the story to pick up. It did not. For me, anyway.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lara Seven

    now's a good time to read about fictional presidents...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebekkila

    Inauguration Day 1989: President-elect Tucker's limousine pulls up at the White House to escort President Reagan to the ceremonies. But what greets the incoming president is his first situation of "extreme criticality": Reagan is still in his pajamas. His back is bothering him. He's tired. He just doesn't feel like moving today. In fact, he doesn't; think he'll want to move until spring...So begins Thomas Nelson Tucker's Presidency. And so begins this riotously funny addition to the long line of Inauguration Day 1989: President-elect Tucker's limousine pulls up at the White House to escort President Reagan to the ceremonies. But what greets the incoming president is his first situation of "extreme criticality": Reagan is still in his pajamas. His back is bothering him. He's tired. He just doesn't feel like moving today. In fact, he doesn't; think he'll want to move until spring...So begins Thomas Nelson Tucker's Presidency. And so begins this riotously funny addition to the long line of White House memoirs written by everyone from the jantitor to the head of the Security council in every administration we care of dare to remember. This blow-by-blow of the presidency of Thomas Nelson Tucker (a.k.a. TNT) is told by one Herbert Wadlough, personal Assistant to the President and Deputy Chier of Staff (not to mention former employee of the Boise, Idaho accounting firm of Dewey, Skuem, and Howe), whose domain within the White House is its mess-by which is meant its kitchen...at least for the moment. Because President Tucker (once he's able to rout Reagan) is headed for the history books for all the wrong reasons. Among the ruffled feathers in Tucker's cap that Wadlough apprises us of : Operation Open Door, through which the President has the chance to meet the dirt-under-the-fingernails ordinary people (though some have rather extraordinary habits)...the Citadel incident in which the presidential bomb shelter malfunctions, with dire (and clausterphobic) consequences for Chancellor Schmeer of Germany...the summit meeting with Castro, who, more than anything is thrilled to meet the First Lady (a former almost-soft-porn star): he's seen all her movies.And those are only a few of the highlights. Herb Wadouht also keeps us abreast of he smaller, more intimate moment that make up ths Presidency: bizarre religious conversations in TNT;s family...the unnerving manifestations of Vice President "Bingo" Reigeluth's lack of concern for the Pesident's safety...the continual battles among the White House staff for precious access to the President-who's got it, who hasn't, how Herb himself loses it several times, and how he regains it permanently while slipping down the face of a rock on an island off the coast of Maine...And finally, Herb gives us the unexpurgated lowdown on BUPI, the revolutionary party of Bermuda, whose attemped takeover of the U.S. military base there (they've already captured all the golf courses, hotels, and sweater factories) triggers Presdient Tucker's most amazing idea..The scenes of TNT's reign unroll, and with them an unrelenting parade of catastrophes, calamitous coincidences, disaterous faux pas, monumental incompetence, and all manner of bad luck and worse planning. But our intrepid narrator (bouyed by his wife Joan's constant injections of meat loaf and solicitude never let's his emotions get the best of him ("Things Sticky", he writes in his diary when the U.S. negotioator in Bermuda crisis is kidnapped), as we are treated to his deadpan desciptions and hysterically level-headed interpretations of the truly inspired-nonpartisan- hilarity that constitutes this particualar White House Mess.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amrith

    All the President's mens.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Lucy

    It's not often I suggest books to my parents that aren't about the Civil War. Outside the Civil War we don't share the same tastes. But this book is deliciously hilarious. Anyone who has any interest in reading at all should absolutely love this book and then highly recommend it to all people everywhere. The fact that Buckley was once involved in White House affairs and hits upon some serious truths about politics and White House politics only lends the story deeper humor. You'll often read this It's not often I suggest books to my parents that aren't about the Civil War. Outside the Civil War we don't share the same tastes. But this book is deliciously hilarious. Anyone who has any interest in reading at all should absolutely love this book and then highly recommend it to all people everywhere. The fact that Buckley was once involved in White House affairs and hits upon some serious truths about politics and White House politics only lends the story deeper humor. You'll often read this futuristic satirical memoir (the book was written in 1986, but the main character, Herb, writes as if his White House stint ended in 1992. The made up president beat George Bush, senior, in the 1988 election, which is funny in itself. I wonder if The White House Mess was, in a roundabout way, intended to get Bush elected...?) thinking that it is a real story. In a terrifyingly strange way, all the events in this book could have happened... and do happen regularly. Again, that adds a real charm to the story. I recommend this book very highly. Also, reading this book might teach Americans that electing a president is only one small part of being a citizen in a democratic country. There's often very little that the President can do. I laugh a lot anyway, but you can bet I was laughing out loud regularly while reading. Sometimes I had to put the book down and give in to uproarious laughing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Regina Lindsey

    The White House Mess by Christopher Buckley 2-1/2 stars rounded to 3 Positioned as a memoir by Herbert Wadlough from within the Democratic Tucker administration, the fictional successor to President Reagan, the political satire revolves around a foreign policy crisis, a struggling marriage, and political in-fighting. Son of National Review's William Buckley and staff writer to George H Bush, Christopher Buckley certainly understands the world inside the loop to pull off a political satire book. The The White House Mess by Christopher Buckley 2-1/2 stars rounded to 3 Positioned as a memoir by Herbert Wadlough from within the Democratic Tucker administration, the fictional successor to President Reagan, the political satire revolves around a foreign policy crisis, a struggling marriage, and political in-fighting. Son of National Review's William Buckley and staff writer to George H Bush, Christopher Buckley certainly understands the world inside the loop to pull off a political satire book. The book opens with a quibbling Ronald Reagan who doesn't want to vacate the White House. However, this is the funniest part of the book. That's disappointing because for anyone who spends any time in DC like I do it is easy to recognize the grains of truth that all great satire is rooted in. But, more surprisingly, is if you have ever read Buckley's other work or heard him speak, he is a truly funny guy. For some reason this book falls very flat. I don't know why. It shouldn't. I don't know if it is because he has matured as a writer from this debut attempt or if the book seems dated even a bit contrived given his political leaning and the seemingly obvious parallels to Clinton - a sex scandal, a strained marriage, and no-good-for-nothing brother- even though the book was published prior to the Clinton administration. It may be that the book is simply dated. Either way it was a bit of a disappointment for me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth Wallace

    After completion of this novel, I look forward to reading "Thank you for Smoking," finally. I have had so many terrible experiences with the book to movie, movie to book disparity, that I had been loath to put myself into such a potentially painful situation again. I had never read any of Buckley work prior to this, so the only information I had to go on was how much I liked the movie adaptation of "Thank you." Speaking of the book to movie translation process, with all it's hazards, I feel that After completion of this novel, I look forward to reading "Thank you for Smoking," finally. I have had so many terrible experiences with the book to movie, movie to book disparity, that I had been loath to put myself into such a potentially painful situation again. I had never read any of Buckley work prior to this, so the only information I had to go on was how much I liked the movie adaptation of "Thank you." Speaking of the book to movie translation process, with all it's hazards, I feel that this novel would not translate as seamlessly or as marketably as "Thank you." I espouse this opinion due to the comparative subtlety of the narator, and his potential to be less recognizable to the general public. His halarity lies in his staid, old fashioned, and at times, old-biddy-esque point of view, and self important attitude. His defining characteristic is his verbose, indulgent manner of speaking, a portrait of a kind of political & absurd David Edelstein. Given the reception that I personally have recieved at times, (i.e. "you, like, use too many words when you are talking") I think there is massive potential for the character to fall flat with a film audience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Buckley’s first novel, The White House Mess, is the memoir of Herbert Wadlough, Special Assistant and Deputy Chief of Staff for President Thomas Tucker – Ronald Reagan’s successor in the Oval Office. (The opening Inaugural is priceless and classic Buckley.) Wadlough is a prudish goody two shoes; his favorite exclamation “Oh dear”; and nicknamed “Auntie Herbert”. So he’s the perfect insider to “narrate” this Buckley “satirical spoof”; appropriately “shocked” at his peers’ behavior, particularly Buckley’s first novel, The White House Mess, is the memoir of Herbert Wadlough, Special Assistant and Deputy Chief of Staff for President Thomas Tucker – Ronald Reagan’s successor in the Oval Office. (The opening Inaugural is priceless and classic Buckley.) Wadlough is a prudish goody two shoes; his favorite exclamation “Oh dear”; and nicknamed “Auntie Herbert”. So he’s the perfect insider to “narrate” this Buckley “satirical spoof”; appropriately “shocked” at his peers’ behavior, particularly their language and wonderfully petty when it comes to the “in-fighting”, i.e. parking spaces and access to the White House mess, (get it?), at mealtime. And Buckley also has an ear for “inside the Beltway” jargon and euphemisms – some of which are still prevalent. And that’s the fascinating quality of this book – 25+ years after its publication later – with just a few minor exceptions – although the knocks at Jimmy Carter and Administration are guffaw worthy – The White House Mess is still timely, relevant and especially funny – particularly Buckley’s ability to capture a politician’s special brand of hubris, self-importance and buffoonery.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I read Buckley for the snark, and this delivers. A novel pretending to be a memoir of a Chief of Staff to a fictionalized President...it begins with the new President and his 'people' going to the White House to pick up President Reagan for the Inauguration. But Reagan doesn't want to leave. He likes it here...he's sick. He'll be better in the spring. Herbert Wadlough is a little man, and he sees life in the White House as a little man would -- full of petty revenges, useless chores, back-biting I read Buckley for the snark, and this delivers. A novel pretending to be a memoir of a Chief of Staff to a fictionalized President...it begins with the new President and his 'people' going to the White House to pick up President Reagan for the Inauguration. But Reagan doesn't want to leave. He likes it here...he's sick. He'll be better in the spring. Herbert Wadlough is a little man, and he sees life in the White House as a little man would -- full of petty revenges, useless chores, back-biting and damage control. He's a CPA at heart and his story shows a lack of understanding of the scope of his own story. Quite the feat to pull off. Wadlough, along with everyone else working in the White House, has had his eye on a memoir from day one. He includes quotes from his diary which are as hilarious in his self-importance and basic misunderstanding of the world as they are enlightening. I especially loved how he tried to refute OTHER memoirs with his own explanations. Fast and funny...not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, but with that razor-sharp insight that makes Buckley so entertaining.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Not nearly as witty as many of Buckley's other books, all of which I have enjoyed hugely, most notably THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. He clearly understands the internecine warfare of egos and perks which fuel the petty daily infighting among the senior White House staff; I am certain he has plenty of well-placed friends who have given him some of the juicier tidbits of Oval Office brawling for influence and access. But the story and the story-telling are far more cursory than in his past endeavors. Not nearly as witty as many of Buckley's other books, all of which I have enjoyed hugely, most notably THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. He clearly understands the internecine warfare of egos and perks which fuel the petty daily infighting among the senior White House staff; I am certain he has plenty of well-placed friends who have given him some of the juicier tidbits of Oval Office brawling for influence and access. But the story and the story-telling are far more cursory than in his past endeavors. Characters are sketched rather than drawn, and situations fly by in a blur of events. This may reflect the diffuse variety of endless activity in the daily WH jungle, but it does not make for portraits of interesting people for whom we have any emotional concern, including our clean-cut, non-drinking, happily-married narrator. A quick read, and Buckley is, as always, an enjoyable wordsmith. But THE WHITE HOUSE MESS is more a series of blackout sketches than a genuine novel. He can do better; he generally has.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    'The Washington Mess' by Christopher Buckley is hilarious. I found myself giggling, chuckling, and several times outright laughing as I read it. If you liked West Wing, I can't recommend this book highly enough. The only way I can describe it is as a hybrid mating of West Wing and well, pick any of the funnier sitcoms of the last half-century. It opens with a Democratic president-elect arriving at the White House to escort President Reagan to the Inauguration ceremonies. Reagan is still in his 'The Washington Mess' by Christopher Buckley is hilarious. I found myself giggling, chuckling, and several times outright laughing as I read it. If you liked West Wing, I can't recommend this book highly enough. The only way I can describe it is as a hybrid mating of West Wing and well, pick any of the funnier sitcoms of the last half-century. It opens with a Democratic president-elect arriving at the White House to escort President Reagan to the Inauguration ceremonies. Reagan is still in his pajamas and refuses to leave the White House (until spring!! lmfao!!!) From that humorous beginning, the story covers the rest of the four year term from the point of view of the Deputy Chief of Staff: A mild mannered Walter Mitty type named Herbert Wadlough. Buckley is a wonderful storyteller. This story was originally published in 1986, before Reagan left office, and Buckley's analysis of the years that would become Clinton's is amazingly prescient (remember Roger Clinton? LOL). Check this book out. And his other stuff too.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alan Chen

    Just plain awesome. Loaded to the brim with snappy dialogue that translates what press releases might actually be about. Some slow parts, but more than enough to keep you locked in until you reach the end. A hilarious non-partisan send-up of political memoirs, turf battles and government. The best quotes: -Trying to streamline the decision making process -Facilitate spatial automotive requirements in the office of the Chief of Staff -Exhaling purposefully -"Request" -Go out on the road -You know how it Just plain awesome. Loaded to the brim with snappy dialogue that translates what press releases might actually be about. Some slow parts, but more than enough to keep you locked in until you reach the end. A hilarious non-partisan send-up of political memoirs, turf battles and government. The best quotes: -Trying to streamline the decision making process -Facilitate spatial automotive requirements in the office of the Chief of Staff -Exhaling purposefully -"Request" -Go out on the road -You know how it is -Reinstate access -Full review of White House Mess Procedures undertaken @ present time, you will be informed of the findings in due course -Contingency arrangements -Non-verifiable -Please, this is undignified -Indelicate situation -Dignity and grace to the office -Involved in Presidential Thinking -Deal with it/ Wants it taken care of

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    Overall, the White House Mess is an enjoyable political satire pretending wearing the mask of a political memoir. The context would have probably been appreciated more at the time of its original publishing, but Buckley skewers timeless characteristics of politics--governmental and inter-office. Buckley fully inhabits the voice of Herb Wadlough even in the Acknowledgements stating, "I should also thank Christopher Buckley, who rendered editorial assistance in the preparation of the manuscript." Overall, the White House Mess is an enjoyable political satire pretending wearing the mask of a political memoir. The context would have probably been appreciated more at the time of its original publishing, but Buckley skewers timeless characteristics of politics--governmental and inter-office. Buckley fully inhabits the voice of Herb Wadlough even in the Acknowledgements stating, "I should also thank Christopher Buckley, who rendered editorial assistance in the preparation of the manuscript." The wordplay is smart, and the narrator is ever self-conscious of the political memoir genre to the point where he admits to have written it for the money. I definitely would recommend this book for fans of Buckley. If you have yet to read any of his work, I would start with a more contemporary work.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ryan parr

    The brilliant Christopher Buckley, who served as the chief speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush, lampoons the self-serving banalities of political memoirs in an outlandish political satire that is buoyed by unflagging zest. From the inauguration crisis, when President Reagan refused to vacate the White House, to the War on Bermuda, President Thomas N. Tucker (TNT), his staff, movie-star First Lady and incendiary son, Firecracker, run amok from one farce to the next in The White The brilliant Christopher Buckley, who served as the chief speechwriter for Vice President George H. W. Bush, lampoons the self-serving banalities of political memoirs in an outlandish political satire that is buoyed by unflagging zest. From the inauguration crisis, when President Reagan refused to vacate the White House, to the War on Bermuda, President Thomas N. Tucker (TNT), his staff, movie-star First Lady and incendiary son, Firecracker, run amok from one farce to the next in The White House Mess. Laugh-out-loud moments abound on every page, told eloquently by a statesman privy to the inner workings of the White House from the West Wing to the South Portico into the Oval. A must read for fans with even the slightest modicum of interest in matters politic. A tour de force through and through.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim Butler

    The man never misses. This one is told as a memoir by the kind of old-friend White House regular who is usually scorned as a freeloader, but has personal value to the president anyway. It’s bright and witty and insightful with a feeling of parody written by one who was an insider. (Buckley was a Vice-President Bush speechwriter, after all. He has redeeming social value in spite of that.) Except for a pretty painful and seemingly endless story about the President’s tiresomely naughty son which The man never misses. This one is told as a memoir by the kind of old-friend White House regular who is usually scorned as a freeloader, but has personal value to the president anyway. It’s bright and witty and insightful with a feeling of parody written by one who was an insider. (Buckley was a Vice-President Bush speechwriter, after all. He has redeeming social value in spite of that.) Except for a pretty painful and seemingly endless story about the President’s tiresomely naughty son which descends to the level of slapstick that works in very few movies and nowhere else, the book is casually, quietly funny all the way through.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Christopher Buckley is a hilarious, honest, and intelligent author, and "Boomsday" does not disappoint. Buckley writes factually about political jobs and climates. Buckley is amazing at saying, hilariously, what everyone else is too afraid to say. This was the first of Buckley's books that I read, it pokes fun at the less-than-lucid mind of President Reagan as he was leaving the White House. It sounds utterly revolting, but I assure you that Buckley keeps respect and distance to keep the reader Christopher Buckley is a hilarious, honest, and intelligent author, and "Boomsday" does not disappoint. Buckley writes factually about political jobs and climates. Buckley is amazing at saying, hilariously, what everyone else is too afraid to say. This was the first of Buckley's books that I read, it pokes fun at the less-than-lucid mind of President Reagan as he was leaving the White House. It sounds utterly revolting, but I assure you that Buckley keeps respect and distance to keep the reader from feeling shame.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bookreaderljh

    Christopher Buckley novels always make me laugh. Sitting at the beach chuckling and not even caring. His books could be true - they are certainly written like one of many genres. This is the memoir of a presidency from the point of view of a staffer and it reads partly like it could have really happened but otherwise is so tongue in cheek. I think basically, though, I liked it because it was funny. All the possible scenarios that might happen and how the politicos "spin" those situations. It Christopher Buckley novels always make me laugh. Sitting at the beach chuckling and not even caring. His books could be true - they are certainly written like one of many genres. This is the memoir of a presidency from the point of view of a staffer and it reads partly like it could have really happened but otherwise is so tongue in cheek. I think basically, though, I liked it because it was funny. All the possible scenarios that might happen and how the politicos "spin" those situations. It actually could have been a very interesting presidency.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Buckley writes the autobiography of an aide of his President Tucker who comes into office after President Reagan. You basically follow through his term in office and the catastrophes and calamities that occur during it. All the bucking for power and access are probably pretty close to how it realy happens...with childlike nonsense throughout. Not the best effort from Buckley. This is almost too tongue-in-cheek. If I hadn't read a number of others books by Buckley that I've loved I likely Buckley writes the autobiography of an aide of his President Tucker who comes into office after President Reagan. You basically follow through his term in office and the catastrophes and calamities that occur during it. All the bucking for power and access are probably pretty close to how it realy happens...with childlike nonsense throughout. Not the best effort from Buckley. This is almost too tongue-in-cheek. If I hadn't read a number of others books by Buckley that I've loved I likely wouldn't go back to him.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suleman Ali

    The White House Mess is a witty and fun 'fictional political memoir' of Herbert Wadlough, aide to the President. Enjoyable 'memoir' taking you through the heady days of winning the election through all the ups and downs of political office and ending with the inevitable defeat after 4 tumultuous years in office! Another classic from Buckley, showing the less glamourous side of US politics. Sure it might have aged, but the wit and humour prevail.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    All of Buckley's novels are smart and very funny (and occasionally crude and profane) and really do skewer anyone and everyone who lives 'inside the Beltway"they are even funnier if you ever did live in DC or just follow it closely. I think my favorites are "Thank you for Smoking"," Boomsday" (surprisingly topical with the health care debates) and White house Mess. His tour de force though, has to be his most recent- his memoir, Losing Mum and Pup.

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