American Hero by Larry Beinhart, Peter Onorati |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
American Hero

American Hero

by Larry Beinhart
     
 

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"A funny, ingenious and outrageous political thriller joining Hollywood and the Bush administration in a revisionist fiction about the Gulf War." Los Angeles Times.

Once upon a time, there was a mean, dying GOP chairman named Lee Atwater who had the most brilliant, insane, frightening and do-able idea ever concocted to assure that his man, George Bush, would retain

Overview

"A funny, ingenious and outrageous political thriller joining Hollywood and the Bush administration in a revisionist fiction about the Gulf War." Los Angeles Times.

Once upon a time, there was a mean, dying GOP chairman named Lee Atwater who had the most brilliant, insane, frightening and do-able idea ever concocted to assure that his man, George Bush, would retain the office of the president of the United States. And the only man on the face of the earth who could pull of such an elaborate scheme was none other than the world's most celebrated Hollywood director.

It's a sure-fire hit! A joint D.C./L.A. production that will play not in movie theaters but on the nightly news! Of course, hundreds of thousands of "extras" will die . . . . But, hey, that's show biz!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Conspiracy theories of the George Bush presidency get a Hollywood twist in this satirical thriller purporting to tell the real story behind Operation Desert Storm. From his deathbed, controversial GOP chairman Lee Atwater conceives a wildly cynical plan to ensure Bush's re-election: if the President's campaign falters, Washington and Hollywood must orchestrate a war that will bolster his popular support. L.A. gumshoe Joe Broz has two jobs: movie star Magdalena Lazlo (soon to be his lover) wants him to find out why celebrated director John Beagle pulled out of a project she'd been working on; meanwhile his employer, mega-corporation Universal Security, has assigned him to the team protecting Beagle's mysterious new project. Which, of course, is the Atwater scheme, which Bush has entrusted to a major Hollywood producer. Beinhart's ( No One Rides for Free ) way-out plot is somewhat confused by a mix of first- and third-person narrative, and his extensive footnotes, sometimes dead-serious sourcing, sometimes saucily satirical, are a controversial touch that may throw some readers. But his imaginary conversations between Bush and Secretary of State Baker, his insights into the way Washington and Hollywood heavies operate and his constant offbeat asides, are often delightfully on target. And perhaps the best tribute one can pay the book is that, wacky as the thesis seems, it makes more sense than the actual war itself, as a lengthy epilogue reminds us. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
The creator of the Tony Cassella p.i. stories (Foreign Exchange, etc.) turns to political satire with a breathtakingly nasty premise: Operation Desert Storm was not only staged for TV but was a piece of Hollywood entertainment drafted and choreographed by filmmakers. Joe Broz, of Universal Security (U.Sec.), is offered a perilously off-the-books job by dazzling Hollywood star Maggie Krebs: lay the groundwork for a $750,000 breach-of-contract suit against RepCo, the talent agency that owns both her and hot director John Lincoln Beagle, by finding out the real reason—not the illness the agency's selling—that Beagle was abruptly pulled off and the project aborted. Hopelessly smitten with Maggie, Joe ("I'm an authentic American hero. Really") signs on, only to find that U.Sec. is already in the game—and not kidding around: they've bugged Maggie's place, they're tailing Joe, they're willing to kill Beagle's inoffensive librarian when Joe lures him into a meeting. What kind of movie would justify such fanaticism? A war movie, as we've already realized—a movie whose concept brainsick Machiavellian Lee Atwater drafted on his deathbed as just the ticket to resuscitate George Bush's faltering image. As Bush and Jim Baker trade gorgeously plausible malapropisms ("Talk about nitty-gritty and cutting through to the nuts of the matter. When Lee Atwater is passing, it's hardball"), Joe maneuvers to get the goods on RepCo head David Hartman and U.Sec.'s Melvin Taylor, Joe's boss, so that even if he can't avert the war, he can help Maggie get her hands on that golden parachute. Joe's plots against the totalitarian conspirators wind down to routine melodrama. The realsmart bombs here are Beinhart's diabolical vignettes of the totalitarian alliance of the Oval Office and the entertainment industry ("Who are we going to war with?" "I don't know. It's just in development"). Think of a left-wing P.J. O'Rourke, or a Stanley Kubrick production of 1984. What a terrific movie this book is never, ever going to make.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345366634
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/01/1994
Pages:
397
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.99(d)

What People are saying about this

Carl Hiaasen
Don't be fooled into thinking American Hero is merely a cunning satire. It could, in fact, be a brilliantly disguised documentary. Did George Bush really hire a movie director to stage the Gulf War? And if so, how did Larry Bienhart get the incredible story?
Robert B. Parker
American Hero is hilarious, thoughtful, insistently readable, and a little scary. All around, it is a thoroughly marvelous book.

Meet the Author

Larry Beinhart is the Edgar Award-winning author of No One Rides for Free, You Get What You Pay For, and Foreign Exchange.

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