Jack Gance

Overview

A young pollster named Jack Gance becomes a savvy Washington political insider and eventually a U.S. senator - but not without paying the usual dues, which turns out to be a dirty business. Gance wastes his love on married women, but ultimately learns who his true mistress is: "I had arrived an apprentice from Chicago, but Washington had taken care of that. It was a great city. . . . It gave and gave and gave and gave and expected nothing in return but loyalty."

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Overview

A young pollster named Jack Gance becomes a savvy Washington political insider and eventually a U.S. senator - but not without paying the usual dues, which turns out to be a dirty business. Gance wastes his love on married women, but ultimately learns who his true mistress is: "I had arrived an apprentice from Chicago, but Washington had taken care of that. It was a great city. . . . It gave and gave and gave and gave and expected nothing in return but loyalty."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Just, veteran of the political novel ( The American Ambassador , Nicholson at Large ), now lives in Paris, but his heart is on Capitol Hill. This time around, his theme is the corruption endemic to the system, and his protagonist, Jack Gancepollster, idea man, ``Mr. Fixit'' who can swing electionswho climbs from Chicago's wards to cushy Washington jobs from the 1960s through the '80s. A confirmed bachelor who carries on with married women, Gance is no faceless White House functionary. He's a vulnerable, sensitive, wounded opportunist, fond of Brahms and Dreiser, who learns that shady connections and loyalty to the party machine are prerequisites to success. Just creates wholly believable characters: Jack's scoundrel father, thrown in jail for tax evasion; high-powered attorney Elly Mozart, who buys off politicians; Tap Gobelin, smooth Washington reporter; Carole Nierendorf, a displaced Southerner bored with her workaholic lawyer husband in Chicago. The story eventually runs out of steam, but along the way it fearlessly explores some of Just's distinguishing preoccupations: the rage between fathers and sons, the arrogance of power, conservative WASP uptightness, the mediocrity of academia. This is a Washington novel of rare psychological penetration and literary craft. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This political novel of the first rank opens with the title character's boyhood in World War II Chicago, covers his two decades as a Congressional and White House staffer, and closes with his return to Illinois and election to the U.S. Senate. Honest and caring, yet loyal to his roots in the Chicago machine, Jack Gance proves a complex and insightful observer of his own life and the American scene. By the author of The American Ambassador and other novels, this well-written and likeable tale features excellent characterization and a strong sense of place and time (the University of Chicago in the late 1950s, for instance). Strange as this might sound, Jack Gance is probably a good novel for readers tired of politics. Highly recommended. James B. Hemesath, Adams State Coll. Lib., Alamosa, Col.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395493373
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/28/1989
  • Pages: 279

Meet the Author

WARD JUST is the author of fifteen previous novels, including the National Book Award finalist Echo House, A Dangerous Friend, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for fiction from the Society of American Historians, and An Unfinished Season, winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award and a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize.

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