'This Town': What are early reviews saying?

Reporter Mark Leibovich's examination of D.C. culture is scheduled to come out July 16.

By , Staff Writer

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    'This Town' is by Mark Leibovich.
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The release of "This Town,” Beltway reporter Mark Leibovich’s examination of D.C. culture, has been eagerly anticipated by political buffs (and recently made the Monitor’s list of the top 10 books of July). So does the book by Leibovich, who works as the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, live up to the hype?

Early reviews have been mostly positive. Washington Post writer Carlos Lozada called it “not bad” and said the acidic look at our nation’s capital can be hard to take at first.

“His tour through Washington only feeds the worst suspicions anyone can have about the place – a land driven by insecurity, hypocrisy and cable hits, where friendships are transactional, blind-copying is rampant and acts of public service appear largely accidental,” Lozada wrote.

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However, the book by Leibovich does suck you in, says Lozada, who notes that while Leibovich wrote for the Washington Post, he has never met him.

“Only two things keep you turning pages,” he wrote of "Town." “First, in Leibovich’s hands, this state of affairs is not just depressing, it’s also kind of funny. Second, you want to know whether the author thinks anyone in Washington – anyone at all? – is worthy of redemption.”

New York Times writer David M. Shribman praised Leibovich’s ability to depict the often strange culture of Washington.

“He’s an insider, Mr. Leibovich is, first a reporter at The Washington Post, now the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine,” Shribman wrote. “Yet he seems to wear those special glasses that allow you to X-ray the outside and see what’s really going on... Start to finish, this is a brilliant portrait.”

Meanwhile, Politico writer Dylan Byers calls the main theme of the book “Washington’s power to shape and corrupt.”

“[“This Town”] will benefit the reader,” he wrote. "For the political junkie, the anecdotes included are top-notch.”

“Town” is scheduled to be released on July 16.

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