Politics, the media, and the rich and famous all make good fodder for an alert satirist. In Family Politics (New York: Simon & Schuster, 384 pp., $18.95) political strategist-turned-novelist John Buckley takes on all three. With wit and an insider's insight Buckley dishes out a funny tale about politics and wealth, American-style. His characters—the sanguine, avuncular incumbent senator; his young, up-and-coming ultraconservative challenger; and a whole medley of reporters, among others—ring all-too-true as they scramble for power and influence.
The raw frontier and rugged individualists of the American West have long inspired writers to celebrate the spirit of the West. Westeryear: Stories about the West, Past and Present (New York: Evans, 240 pp., $14.95), edited by Edward Gorman, includes over 20 stories about the West by great American authors of the past—Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, and O. Henry—as well as some contemporary short-story masters.
James Comer recounts a saga of a different sort—this time biographical—in Maggie's American Dream: The Life and Times of a Black Family (New York: New American Library, 228 pp., $18.95). Comer, reviving the tradition of oral family history, tells first in his mother's then in his own words the story of his family. This is an inspiring tale of a black woman born destitute in rural Mississippi who struggled and succeeded in making her American dream a reality. Ironically, James Comer seems to have missed the message of his mother's do-it-yourself approach to success. At the book's close, he calls for an array of government programs to help lift blacks out of poverty.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Book Hints".