“They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?” by Christopher Buckley / Wednesday, October 17, 2012 / Reviewed by Clay Stafford
Today’s featured book is They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? by Christopher Buckley.
Washington, D.C. has gone upside-down.
Why Clay Stafford chose this book:
This book cracked me up. In honor of the political season, today’s Killer Nashville Book of the Day is “They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?” by Christopher Buckley. “They” refers to the Chinese. It is a satirical look at Washington, D.C. and the fears of some regarding the world domination of China (or Red China, as this book says). All the Washington types are there. Frankly, when I picked up the book, I was expecting it to maybe be a bit one-sided, but it is knee-slapping funny across the entire political spectrum. For those who don’t know Christopher Buckley, he is the New York Times bestselling author of “Boomsday” and “Losing Mum and Pup” (among others). And if the name sounds familiar, yes, he is the son of William F. Buckley, a man I grew up with via “Firing Line,” an excellent orator who taught me many tricks, and one of the best vocabulary teachers I ever had. The fruit, as they say, does not fall far from the tree. Christopher Buckley is the perfect scion of a dynasty of parody and wit.
From an insider’s viewpoint – and this family does have incredible access – all Washington types are represented. A more well-represented group of political suckups and Machiavellian conquerors you have never read. “Who needs evidence when you’ve got the Internet?” From political foundations hiding true advocates of certain agenda, to PR firms hoping to rule the world, to actors who take their political ideas (and maybe political aspirations) from movies that they have played, to war mongers, peace mongers, passive-aggressive nutcakes, political camera chasers and boy toys, talk show hosts, vacuous political appointees, they are all duly represented. The idea centers around turning world opinion against China because of fears that China is taking over the U.S. Does that sound like a current political issue? “This country is going to come to its sense about China if I have to smash every dish in the cupboard.” You’re not going to learn much about our current candidates in this little story, but it will help you see through some of the silliness that accompanies national elections every four years (and all the activities in between). You get to see the characters onstage and off when they think no one is looking. “You do such a wonderful job supervising all those nice Mexicans.” How do they plan to achieve their end? If they can’t start a war or blow up something, then somehow make it look like the Chinese want to kill the Dalai Lama. Everyone loves the Dalai Lama, right? That should turn world opinion. “These are people with taste,” one character says. Another replies, “No, darling, they’re people with money.”
I love the lines and the way Buckley phrases, especially when he is offering a mocking send-up to political correctness, for example: “I love you – in a heterosexual way. If I were of the gay persuasion, I have no doubt that I would be attracted to you physically. I would want you to be my civil partner and for us to adopt an African orphan.” If that doesn’t make you laugh, you don’t need to read this book. But if it does, then this book is definitely for you.
“In an attempt to gain congressional approval for a top-secret weapons system, Washington lobbyist “Bird” McIntyre teams up with sexy, outspoken neocon Angel Templeton to pit the American public against the Chinese. When Bird fails to uncover an authentic reason to slander the nation, he and Angel put the Washington media machine to work, spreading a rumor that the Chinese secret service is working to assassinate the Dalai Lama.
Meanwhile in China, mild-mannered President Fa Mengyao and his devoted aide Gang are maneuvering desperately against sinister party hard-liners Minister Lo and General Han. Now Fa and Gang must convince the world that the People’s Republic is not out to kill the Dalai Lama, while maintaining Fa’s small margin of power in the increasingly militaristic environment of the party.
On the home front, Bird must contend with a high-strung wife who entertains Olympic equestrian ambition, and the qualifying competition happens to be taking place in China. As things unravel abroad, Bird and Angel’s lie comes dangerously close to reality. And as their relationship rises to a new level, so do mounting tensions between the United States and China.”
Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!