The Party Is Over
by Mike Lofgren (Viking, $26)
Former GOP congressional staffer Mike Lofgren made waves last year when he quit his job and published a damning assessment of his party in Truth-out.org, said Colin Woodard in The Washington Post. Lofgren’s “hard-hitting, dryly witty” new book expands that critique, painting Capitol Hill Republicans as obstructionists interested solely in advancing the interests of plutocrats. But Democrats take a beating this time too, accused of standing for nothing since the rise of the centrist Bill Clinton.
by Jeffrey Toobin (Doubleday, $29)
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts is D.C.’s “most intriguing personality,” said Garrett Epps in The New York Times. Just months after Roberts stunned supporters by voting to uphold President Obama’s health-care law, Jeffrey Toobin has produced an absorbing account of Roberts’s reign so far. No reporter can fully divine what occurs behind closed doors, but Toobin comes close. “Not until scholars a generation hence gain access to the justices’ papers” is anyone likely to match his work here.
The Price of Politics
by Bob Woodward (Simon & Schuster, $30)
“No reporter has better access to Washington’s powerful” than Bob Woodward, said David Lauter in the Los Angeles Times. Unfortunately, the legendary reporter’s behind-the-scenes look at last year’s federal debt-ceiling talks “contains no real secrets.” Meanwhile, Woodward’s “other strength”—his ability to put readers into rooms they normally couldn’t enter—proves of little use. Given the tediousness of the negotiations that took place in this particular room, “most readers will simply want to get out.”
The Victory Lab
by Sasha Issenberg (Crown, $26)
Election campaigns aren’t Moneyball, but don’t tell that to the consultants who run them, said Nate Cohn in The New Republic. In a “timely, rare, and valuable attempt to unveil the innovations revolutionizing campaign politics,” journalist Sasha Issenberg profiles a new breed of consultants who are less interested in a race’s grand gestures than in mining numerical data to get the right message to the right voter. The mainstream media cover pageantry and gaffes; Issenberg suggests they’re missing the story.