In this feature of the Washington Watch, WW will primarily recommend books you may find interesting but may also now and then mention a TV program or other things. I welcome your suggestions and your input. What have you been reading or watching that you think WW readers might like?
By Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
The transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history.
But as #1 internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa reveal for the first time, it was far more than just a domestic political crisis.
Woodward and Costa interviewed more than 200 people at the center of the turmoil, resulting in more than 6,000 pages of transcripts—and a spellbinding and definitive portrait of a nation on the brink.
This classic study of Washington takes readers deep inside the Trump White House, the Biden White House, the 2020 presidential campaign, and the Pentagon and Congress, with vivid, eyewitness accounts of what really happened.
Peril is supplemented throughout with never-before-seen material from secret orders, transcripts of confidential phone calls, diaries, emails, meeting notes and other personal and government records, making for an unparalleled history.
It is also the first inside look at Biden’s presidency as he faces the challenges of a lifetime: the continuing deadly pandemic and millions of Americans facing soul-crushing economic pain, all the while navigating a bitter and disabling partisan divide, a world rife with threats, and the hovering, dark shadow of the former president.
“We have much to do in this winter of peril,” Biden declared at his inauguration, an event marked by a nerve-wracking security alert and the threat of domestic terrorism.
Peril is the extraordinary story of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another and represents the culmination of Bob Woodward’s news-making trilogy on the Trump presidency, along with Fear and Rage. And it is the beginning of a collaboration with fellow Washington Post reporter Robert Costa that will remind readers of Woodward’s coverage, with Carl Bernstein, of President Richard M. Nixon’s final days.
Note: The following is about a book that is not scheduled to be published until April 2022.
Simon & Shuster has announced that it will publish THE ROAD TAKEN, a memoir by Senator Patrick Leady (D-Vt). Leahy was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and is currently its most senior member. Leahy was born in Montpelier, Vermont. He is currently the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He served for 20 years as chair or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is also the most senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee where he previously served as Chair.
As the senior-most member de facto dean of the chamber, Senator Leahy established himself as a moral leader and a liberal pioneer over four daces spanning nine presidential administrations.
Further note, I first met Patrick Leahy in 1974 when he was serving his 8th year as State Attorney of Chitten County, Vermont. Leahy had decided to run for the U.S. Senate and I was traveling the country as a volunteer for the Senate Campaign Committee along with its Chairman Nordy Hoffman.
The Code Breaker
bB Walter Isaacson
When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would.
Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book’s author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned a curiosity of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions.
The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code.
Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm…Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids?
After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.”
Primal Fear: Tribalism, Empathy and the Way Forward
By Robert M Smith
The assault on the United States capitol on January 6, 2021, was entirely predictable–the anger, the conspiracy theories, the tribalism, even the violence. It was the culmination of decades of traumatic social and economic change that has awakened evolutionary fear and ancient bias. Fear of “others,” of being left behind, and of the loss of sacred traditions and norms. Primal Fear describes the evolutionary roots and contemporaneous drivers of this fear and how the determined actions of our political leaders, and the daily commitment of each of us, can diminish America’s divisiveness and create a sense of common purpose.