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Primary Colors By Joe Klein Essay

1280 words - 5 pages

Primary Colors, by Joe Klein, is an entertaining, informing, and controversial novel. Filled with both humor and wit, this book provides a drama filled fictional story, in which Joe Klein purports to describe characters and events that resemble real-life political figures. Joe Klein is an American Journalist and columnist. He is also the political columnist for TIME Magazine. When Klein published his book, Primary Colors, in 1996, he left the author as anonymous and then later published the book under his name. His book Primary Colors is said to be,” A brilliant and penetrating look behind the scenes of modern American politics, Primary Colors is a funny, wise, and dramatic story with characters and events that resemble some familiar, real-life figures.” (From the Hardcover edition.) This book follows the presidential campaign of a governor of a small Southern state, Jack Stanton. The book’s narrator is a congressional worker, Henry Burton, who joined the presidential campaign. The book doesn’t exactly state it, but you can infer that the events are based on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. This book is sure to keep your attention, and make you want to read more.
Klein creates this book to be very entertaining. The book reflects and describes how things are done in a real campaign. It manages to capture the characters with great detail and thought.

Klein writes:
He was a big fellow, looking seriously pale on the streets of Harlem in deep summer. I am small and not so dark, not very threatening to Caucasians; I do not strut my stuff.
We shook hands. My inability to recall that particular moment more precisely is disappointing: the handshake is the threshold act, the beginning of politics. I’ve seen him do it two million times now, but I couldn’t tell you how he does it, the right-handed part of it- the strength, quality, duration of it, the rudiment of pressing the flesh. (9)
Klein describes the character in a very vivid form. Here in this quote he seems to be comparing the character Henry Burton –who is also the narrator to the story- to Jack Stanton, and the type of power that Stanton possessed, and also how his power reflected on to the people.
Primary Colors was not only written to be funny. Even though the author portrayed a subtle sense of humor throughout the book, his main purpose was to get a point across about American Politics. One quote from the author that comes to mind is when Stanton is talking in a shipyard.
Well, I'm here now, and I'm lookin' at you, and you wouldn't believe me if I told you what you wanted to hear in any case, right? So let me tell you this: No politician can bring these shipyard jobs back. Or make your union strong again. No politician can make it be the way it used to be. Because we're living in a new world now, a world without borders -- economically, that is. Guy can push a button in New York and move a billion dollars to Tokyo before you blink an eye. We've got a world market now. And that's good for...

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