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THE CONGRESSMAN WHO LOVED FLAUBERT <i> by Ward Just (Caroll & Graf: $9.95) </i>

A former newspaper reporter, Ward Just writes with a crisp, straightforward style and an insider’s knowledge of Washington, D.C., that gives these stories the tone of a roman a clef. In “Prime Evening Time,” a dedicated soldier discovers that the distorted visions on network news shows are more powerful than truth; a senator learns the bitter lesson that style can be more significant than content in “Noone.” The title story, in which a rising young congressman loses his last illusions as he watches a friend cleverly orchestrate a campaign for the Senate, gives the reader a clearer picture of how the federal government actually functions than many civics texts.


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