ALL THE PRESIDENTS' PETS: The Inside Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over

Mo Rocca, Author . Crown $22 (245p) ISBN 978-1-4000-5225-7

Geeky, factoid-loving TV comedian Rocca of The Daily Show presents a wacky satire on Washington and the media, with particular barbed attention paid to Fox News. With ironically deadpan innocence, Rocca uncovers the top-secret history of a pact between presidents and their pets, who are "bound by the indispensable 'Sacred Animal' component of proper decision-making." Rocca's jibes at media and government personalities range from incisive to silly and may confuse readers not fully literate in cable network news. More universally comprehensible and funny are stories of the influence of presidential pets on their owners. The mating of Kennedy's terrier, Charlie, with Pushinka, a canine gift from Khrushchev, averted the Cuban missile crisis. Johnson's dog Him predicted the quagmire of Vietnam, although Johnson ignored the advice. Funniest of all is a 1798 town square Crossfire on the Alien and Sedition Act between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, moderated by bulldog Toddy and sheepdog Buzzy, in which the politicians hurl personal insults at each other while the dogs do their best to maintain rational thinking and civility. The book's peculiarly postmodern blending of fact and fantasy make it hard to tell jokes from mere ironic truths. Photos. Agent, P.J. Mark. (Oct.)

Forecast: Rocca could attract readers sick of election seriousness and ready for some breeziness, though many of them may gravitate to Jon Stewart's America: The Book (Forecasts, Aug. 30) instead.

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 247 pages - 978-1-4000-5226-4
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 169 pages - 978-1-4000-9757-9
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