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The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide to Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government

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How is legislation crafted? How do you lose an election? What do bundler, quorum call and omnibus mean? Why do some of the White Houses most important meetings occur at a Starbucks? Why are Washington insiders obsessed with something called Jumbo Slice? What, exactly, is a skintern? Eliot Nelson, one of Washingtons funniest and most admired young journalists, knows how the How is legislation crafted? How do you lose an election? What do “bundler,” “quorum call” and “omnibus” mean? Why do some of the White House’s most important meetings occur at a Starbucks? Why are Washington insiders obsessed with something called Jumbo Slice? What, exactly, is a “skintern?” Eliot Nelson, one of Washington’s funniest and most admired young journalists, knows how the sausage factory works and his new book, The Beltway Bible, is every citizen's must-have owner’s manual. Arranged from A to Z, The Beltway Bible provides an insider's perspective of politics and government, breaking down both into easily-digested entries on subjects like how legislation is formed, the scope of the president’s power and an overview of federal agencies. Nelson also looks at D.C.'s less-well-known power structures: the internal pecking order of White House aides, the high school cafeteria power struggles behind party invites and the petty congressional arguments over how highway on-ramps are named. The Beltway Bible makes our complex government accessible in a way that will please everyone from Jon Stewart to John Doe. Eliot Nelson’s The Beltway Bible is tailor-made for Election 2016.


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How is legislation crafted? How do you lose an election? What do bundler, quorum call and omnibus mean? Why do some of the White Houses most important meetings occur at a Starbucks? Why are Washington insiders obsessed with something called Jumbo Slice? What, exactly, is a skintern? Eliot Nelson, one of Washingtons funniest and most admired young journalists, knows how the How is legislation crafted? How do you lose an election? What do “bundler,” “quorum call” and “omnibus” mean? Why do some of the White House’s most important meetings occur at a Starbucks? Why are Washington insiders obsessed with something called Jumbo Slice? What, exactly, is a “skintern?” Eliot Nelson, one of Washington’s funniest and most admired young journalists, knows how the sausage factory works and his new book, The Beltway Bible, is every citizen's must-have owner’s manual. Arranged from A to Z, The Beltway Bible provides an insider's perspective of politics and government, breaking down both into easily-digested entries on subjects like how legislation is formed, the scope of the president’s power and an overview of federal agencies. Nelson also looks at D.C.'s less-well-known power structures: the internal pecking order of White House aides, the high school cafeteria power struggles behind party invites and the petty congressional arguments over how highway on-ramps are named. The Beltway Bible makes our complex government accessible in a way that will please everyone from Jon Stewart to John Doe. Eliot Nelson’s The Beltway Bible is tailor-made for Election 2016.

30 review for The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide to Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government

  1. 5 out of 5

    HBalikov

    I have been enjoying this book for the past month and you might find that it also meets your needs. This is an alphabetical guide that is serious, knowledgeable and quite cynical at times. Let me give you a sample of the titles of the entries: Ad Buy Adelson Primary Hearing Political Nonprofit (dark money groups) Running of the Interns Smoke-filled Backrooms (see Acela, Capitol Hill Club) Here is a bit more from the listing "Access" "Both a means and an end to power. To be in the know. To have someone's I have been enjoying this book for the past month and you might find that it also meets your needs. This is an alphabetical guide that is serious, knowledgeable and quite cynical at times. Let me give you a sample of the titles of the entries: Ad Buy Adelson Primary Hearing Political Nonprofit (dark money groups) Running of the Interns Smoke-filled Backrooms (see Acela, Capitol Hill Club) Here is a bit more from the listing "Access" "Both a means and an end to power. To be in the know. To have someone's ear. To be somebody. To have a seat at the table....The most obvious form of access is the professional kind which includes all the boldface names who yell at you on TV: the agency chiefs, the newspaper columnists, the senators, the interest group directors.....But this kind of access is not only enjoyed by famous people who pretend to care about you, it's enjoyed by literally THOUSANDS of people you've never heard of who pretend to care about you..." With all the talk about "draining the swamp" being just talk, you may have need of a guidebook to help avoid, at least, the obvious pitfalls. This a a good one to take with you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason Anthony

    Essential reading for anyone interested in DC politics. The fact that Nelson makes an encyclopedia often hilarious is a landmark achievement. But it's an encyclopedia nonetheless so aim to read it in short doses.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nenda

    Most part of the books is hilarious but then you'll get bored somehow.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Entertaining, informative, and often irreverent look at Washington, D.C. I've enjoyed reading it in small doses over the past year. Dear god the editing though. Not just typos but incomplete sentences and lines that don't make any sense. I was always one for turning in essays without having someone else proofread them but someone else must have gone over this book and I don't understand how some of this wasn't caught.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    Great Read Full of insider info about how DC rocks. Fun to read with tons of references in the back of the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rflutist

    Great reference book, infused with humor. I learned a few facts along the way, which I'm sure helped in preparing for the State Department exam.

  7. 5 out of 5

    An

    2.5 stars. Funny and an informative read for those not knowledgeable about the DC political scene, but the format (A-Z entries) wears on you after a bit.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Hilarious and extremely relatable for a wonk like me, but the editing is not good. There's a maximum amount of grammatical errors I can accept in a published book and this one hit the limit pretty early on.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dl

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Alderfer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Nelson did a fair job of inserting some humor into what surely could have been a snooze-fest of a book. Not bad. And I learned a thing or two...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael W.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    If you want a civics lesson in snarky, sarcastic tones, this is the book for you. Nelson leaves no American political party, past or present, unscathed in his dictionary-style work to the U.S. Government. He unearths the thinly veiled line between a PAC and a Super PAC. His listing of Cabinet departments details what they do and who's most likely to be appointed Secretary. The Legislative Glossary defines all the arcane terms used to shepherd a bill through the legislative process. Nelson also If you want a civics lesson in snarky, sarcastic tones, this is the book for you. Nelson leaves no American political party, past or present, unscathed in his dictionary-style work to the U.S. Government. He unearths the thinly veiled line between a PAC and a Super PAC. His listing of Cabinet departments details what they do and who's most likely to be appointed Secretary. The Legislative Glossary defines all the arcane terms used to shepherd a bill through the legislative process. Nelson also makes clear that there's not much new in politics -- the first lobbyist, William Hull, petitioned Congress for veterans' back pay in George Washington's administration. Although Hull was later sentenced to death by firing squad for handing over Detroit to the British in the War of 1812, he was later pardoned by James Madison.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dana

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alex Coppejans

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jason Linkins

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  18. 4 out of 5

    Silea

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brett Heinz

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Stansbury

  21. 5 out of 5

    Colette

  22. 4 out of 5

    Judy Gacek

    It is a reference book. Need to own as cannot and would not want to read in one dose.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Apfelbaum

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wai-man

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    A+ primer on this insane city. Handy guide to have around. It's extremely engaging and also remarkably inclusive for something written by a white guy. His explanation of Washington DC and the surrounding counties/other areas in the DMV impressed me although the bar was pretty low. 'Advertising': [...] "Modern commentators may bemoan the talking points, 140-character tweets, and carefully crafted zingers that define today's sound-bite-driven political discourse, but the politicians of yester-year A+ primer on this insane city. Handy guide to have around. It's extremely engaging and also remarkably inclusive for something written by a white guy. His explanation of Washington DC and the surrounding counties/other areas in the DMV impressed me although the bar was pretty low. 'Advertising': [...] "Modern commentators may bemoan the talking points, 140-character tweets, and carefully crafted zingers that define today's sound-bite-driven political discourse, but the politicians of yester-year assumed that most Americans were so stupid they couldn't even handle 140 characters" (22).

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joshua David

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

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