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Back in March 1972, G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt huddled with a CIA poison expert in the basement of the Hay-Adams Hotel. Their subject: Would it be better to kill Jack Anderson by dosing his steering wheel with LSD or by slipping deadly meds into his bottle of aspirin? The Richard Nixon henchmen ultimately dropped the scheme, but it’s recounted in appropriately outlandish detail in Poisoning the Press, Mark Feldstein’s rollicking book about the investigative journalist. Feldstein casts Anderson, with his willingness to dig into pols’ previously off-limits personal lives, as an enabler of modern Washington’s scandal culture. But to read his balanced account of the deeply sourced scoop machine—who won a Pulitzer for reporting on the still-relevant subject of America’s entanglements with Pakistan—is to realize how puny today’s scandal-mongers are by comparison. Is there anyone on 24-hour cable who a modern president would even bother to sic his plumbers on?
FELDSTEIN READS AT 6 P.M. ON SATURDAY, OCT. 2, AT POLITICS AND PROSE, 5015 CONNECTICUT AVE. NW. (202) 364-1919. FREE. (202) 364-1919.