The Deep State
At a time when there is real paranoia about “the deep state” CNN anchor Jake Tapper lends credibility to those charges. Why is he doing it? His book is set in early 1950s Washington where Joe McCarthy reigns and a deep state exists in the form of the Hellfire Club where legislators mix with lobbyists and executive branch members. Members of the club include McCarthy, the Kennedy brothers and the Dulles brothers, truly a bipartisan cabal.
Into this mix comes Charlie Marder, an appointed Congressman a professor out of Columbia University and prior to that a war hero. He is there with his zoologist wife Margaret and we watch her dismay as Charlie’s good intentions sink into the muck of Washington D.C. We find dead bodies, blackmail, influence peddling and McCarthy getting with his buddy Roy Cohn getting more and more out of control. Above it all stands President Eisenhower who is steering a moderate path amidst the craziness. But make no mistake, the Hellfire Club represents the deep state and it is modeled after an 18th Century British Club of the same name and purpose.
Tapper has a fine sense for detail about the era and he did his research on the wild ponies of the Maryland shore that Margaret is studying. However as much as he tried the book doesn’t quite hold together and at many time it strains credulity. It seems to me there is more fluff than substance.
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