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Walking in the Nation's Capital

One in the Crown Journeys series
Author: Christopher Buckley

The father of our country slept with Martha, but schlepped in the District. Now in the great man’s footsteps comes humorist and twenty-year Washington resident Christopher Buckley with the real story of the city’s founding. Well, not really. We’re just trying to get you to buy the book. But we can say with justification that there’s never been a more enjoyable, funny, and informative tour guide to the city than Buckley. His delight as he points out things of interest is con-tagious, and his frequent digressions about his own adventures as a White House staffer are often hilarious.

In Washington Schlepped Here, Buckley takes us along for several walks around the town and shares with us a bit of his “other” Washington. They include “Dante’s Paradiso” (Union Station); the “Zero Milestone of American democracy” (the U.S. Capitol); the “Almost Pink House” (the White House); and many other historical (and often hysterical) journeys. Buckley is the sort of wonderful guide who pries loose the abalone-like clichés that cling to a place as mythic as D.C. Wonderfully insightful and eminently practical, Washington Schlepped Here shows us that even a city whose chief industry is government bureaucracy is a lot funnier and more surprising than its media-ready image might let on.

From Publishers Weekly
Buckley (No Way to Treat a First Lady) presents an engaging introduction to the highlights of monumental Washington in this collection of walking tours. While some readers might have appreciated a stroll through some of the capital's less-visited quarters (his tours barely venture beyond the Mall), Buckley digs up enough historical tidbits about even stops like the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and Washington Monument to let veteran tourists see them freshly. His approach--combining the stories of those who built Washington and the stories of those who ruled it-pays off in rich anecdotes about, for instance, Pierre L'Enfant, the city's designer, who died in poverty, and James McNeill Whistler, who created the Freer Gallery's Peacock Room in a defiant act of artistic license. It's useful, too, to have a guide who's a former Washington insider (Buckley worked as a speechwriter to Vice-president Bush during Reagan's first term) and actually knows what it's like to steal stationery from Air Force One. Buckley's tendency to let jokes tell the stories is occasionally confusing: for instance, he writes, "Congress immediately passed a law prohibiting vice-presidents from speaking in verse; it remains on the books today." If he's not kidding he should elaborate, and if he is, well, he should be funnier. This isn't a critical guide to Washington--Buckley wears his conservative and patriotic credentials on his sleeve--and it is unlikely to appeal to anyone looking for insight into the Washington its residents actually inhabit, but its anecdotes, alternately frivolous and solemn, make a good companion to D.C.'s best-known attractions.
© Reed Business Information, Inc.
$16.95 (hardcover)
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