Six smart and imaginative people form a book club to discuss a list of politically significant fiction from the 20th century. They examine the qualities of democrats in portraits of Lincoln by Gore Vidal and William Safire and Stuff Happens, a satirical play about George W. Bush’s war on Iraq in 1982. They analyze books about demagogues, including Robert Penn Warren’s All the Kings Men and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. They talk about dictators and discuss how Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin are portrayed in Robert Bolt’s State of Revolution and the way Tomas Eloy Martinez represents the Argentine dictator Peron in The Peron Novel. And they debate the characteristics of despots like Stalin from Antoly Rybakov’s Fear, Idi Amin from Giles Foden’s The Last King of Scotland, and Muammar Gaddafi from Yasmina Khadra’s The Dictator’s Last Night.
These and more are grist for this fictional book club’s observations, which will provide the reader with interesting food for thought, making this book especially interesting for any serious student of political science or history.