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How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016 (Hardback)
  • How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016 (Hardback)
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How the Hell Did This Happen?: The Election of 2016 (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 23/03/2017
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This election cycle was so absurd that celebrated political satirist, journalist, and die-hard Republican P. J. O'Rourke endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. As P.J. put it, "America is experiencing the most severe outbreak of mass psychosis since the Salem witch trials of 1692. So why not put Hillary on the dunking stool?"

In How the Hell Did This Happen?, P.J. brings his critical eye and inimitable voice to some seriously risky business. Starting in June 2015, he asks, "Who are these jacklegs, high-binders, wire-pullers, mountebanks, swellheads, buncombe spigots, four-flushers and animated spittoons offering themselves as worthy of America's highest office?" and surveys the full cast of presidential candidates including everyone you've already forgotten and everyone you wish you could forget.

P.J. offers a brief history of how our insane process for picking who will run for president evolved, from the very first nominating convention (thanks, Anti-Masonic Party) through the reforms of the Progressive era (because there's nothing that can't be worsened by reform) to the present. He takes us through the debates and key primaries and analyzes everything from the campaign platforms (or lack thereof) to presidential style ("Trump's appearance--indeed, Trump's existence--is a little guy's idea of living large. A private plane! A swell joint in Florida! Gold-plated toilet handles!"). And he rises from the depths of despair to come up with a better way to choose a president. Following his come-to-Satan moment with Hillary and the Beginning of End Times in November, P.J. reckons with a new age: "America is experiencing a change in the nature of leadership. We're getting rid of our leaders. And we're starting at the top."

Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press
ISBN: 9780802126191
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 211 x 142 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Praise for How the Hell Did This Happen?

"Where are we going? Where have we been? P.J. O'Rourke casts his gimlet gaze on the circus of clowns-people foisted on us by the 2016 election--and demands to know How the Hell Did This Happen?"--Vanity Fair, Hot Type

"A no-holds-barred look at the presidential campaign. An across-the-aisle examination, and critique, of the candidates, the press, political punditry, and even an analysis of how he, a conservative libertarian, ended up endorsing Hillary Clinton."--Bloomberg

"O'Rourke has been for decades the wittiest guide to America, and the usual ingredients are packed into this volume. How the Hell Did This Happen? is scabrously witty, inventive and rich in historical detail."--Australian

"How the Hell Did This Happen? chronicles the most insane year ever in American politics . . . it's fantastic to have [O'Rourke] as our kind of Virgil through what I really do hope is the worst year ever."--Nick Gillespie, Reason Podcast

"O'Rourke has plenty of company in concluding that the 2016 election resulted in a populist uprising. But few other writers have described it as powerfully and with such an economy of words."--Washington Independent Review of Books

"How the hell did this happen? Maybe O'Rourke can't definitively explain it all, but he can sure make you laugh while trying."--Huffington Post

"For those interested in one more look at the unusual road leading to the unlikely outcome of the unforgettable 2016 U.S. presidential election, humorist O'Rourke delivers a wry, dry, and occasionally laugh-out-loud take . . . Entertaining as O'Rourke's quips generally are, it's when he gets to the heart of the matter, discussing the mob mentality and the value of 'individual dignity, individual freedom, and individual responsibility, ' that his work is most pointed."--Publishers Weekly

Praise for P. J. O'Rourke

"Whether you agree with him or not, P.J. writes a helluva piece."--Richard Nixon

"P. J. O'Rourke is like S.J. Perelman on acid."--Chris Buckley

"[P. J. O'Rourke] was able to yank conservatives out of the hands of the humorless and shrill, and make such writing accessible . . . He changed my life."--Greg Gutfeld

"[P. J. O'Rourke] occupies a rare place among the laughing class: He has somehow avoided the orifice obsession that captivates many of its members; he identifies as Republican; and he is no mere thumb-sucker, having visited more than 40 countries to report on wars, regime changes, economic revolutions and the experience of drinking cocktails garnished with the poison sacs of cobras."--Wall Street Journal

"Outspoken conservatives have long been a minority in comedy, particularly in the mainstream media, which provided an opportunity for P.J. O'Rourke, who for decades cornered the market for prominent right-wing humorists . . . If his wry essays have a mission statement . . . it's this: Starchy Republicanism is really, really fun."--New York Times Book Review

"As a cultural analyst, O'Rourke's ability and willingness to simultaneously lampoon and celebrate himself and his generation are unequaled."--Publishers Weekly

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