July 5, 2011


Tevi Troy says Bob Woodward’s books get the Washington Read — “the phenomenon by which, through a form of intellectual osmosis, a book is absorbed into the Washington atmosphere.” (That’s different from the Index Scan, which is a glance over the credits to see if you’re mentioned.)

According to former White House speechwriter Dan McGroarty, to qualify as a Washington Read, a book not only has to be ambitious; it also needs “to be a book one would feel pressure to have read, and read early.” This need to be ahead of the curve, coupled with demanding jobs that leave little time for reading, pushes people toward the Washington Read.

Troy says the most famous Washington Reads are “The End of History and the Last Man” by Francis Fukuyama; “Team of Rivals” (Doris Kearns Goodwin); “Bush at War” (Woodward); “Obama’s Wars” (Woodward); “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” (Robert D. Putnam); and “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” (Paul Kennedy).

> Slate reads Woodward’s “Plan of Attack” so you don’t have to (2004)

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From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August…
Jim Romenesko

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