By fall 2015, the rise of Donald Trump as the likely Republican nominee confirmed that, for better or worse, Americans had been transported to a strange new land populated by mysterious creatures, where the normal laws of the political universe no longer applied. Fascinated, amused, and appalled, bestselling novelist Richard North Patterson accepted an invitation to write one column per week for the Huffington Post about the presidential race. Those essays are collected here for the first time in a highly personal "journal" chronicling Patterson's observations in real time. Before long, thousands of Americans were reading Patterson's weekly descriptions of the campaign, a gauntlet without rules in which the projected psyches of the candidates reflected—and stirred—the roiling emotions of a substantially disgruntled electorate. Smart, prescient, funny, and deeply informed by extensive background research, these pieces form a narrative that captures the race as it occurred—the bald-faced lies, the painful truths, the pivotal issues, and the astonishing personalities that made the election of 2016 utterly unpredictable and uniquely consequential. Best of all, in marginalia scattered throughout the book Patterson looks back to see where he was right, where he was wrong, and where events were so beyond human experience that no one could have predicted them. In this bracing, funny book, Patterson brings to bear a novelist's piercing sensibility to the process of examining the election, moments that betray a candidate's character and inner life and hold up a mirror to the American population. Filled with fresh insights and indelible prose, Fever Swamp is a masterful take on a unique campaign filled with the pathos, humor, and important lessons of the liveliest playground shoving match.
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