The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

Enjoying the gritty depictions of Washington power players in the fabulous House of Cards series on Netflix? Then you might also check out The Solomon Scandals, which predates the Netflix program. Like so much of House, as well as the classic novel All the King’s Men, Scandals is about the conflict between friendship and duty. […]

Jane Austen wrote for herself, not her contemporaries. Her earliest reviewers were less than fully gung-ho about her fiction. Among other things, if you go by a recent book by Claire Harman, certain critics felt Austen’s writing wasn’t fresh enough. Talk about critical blunders! It took decades and decades, but the world finally caught up […]

As if the stolen glasses weren’t enough, Jonathan Franzen is in the news for not making the final cut in the National Book Awards. I myself have mixed feelings about Freedom, but mostly like it. Granted, events and outcomes happen with a little assist from coincidence. But you can accuse Dickens of the same. What’s […]

How closely should the world follow VIP journalists and politicians and—for that matter—celebrities in general? “Newspapers spend too much time explaining themselves.” So  said Marcus Brauchli, executive editor of the Washington Post; and a media watcher even gave the pronouncement a name—the Brauchi Doctrine. Look, Marcus. Your paper is in decline for the moment despite […]

LBJ was about to replace J. Edgar Hoover as FBI director when word leaked to Newsweek. So what did the White House do to spite the Ben Bradlee, then at Newsweek’s Washington bureau? Reappoint Hoover, of course. Now the reverse has happened in a sense to Sally Quinn, Bradlee’s wife and doyenne of the Georgetown […]

Washington, D.C., is a perilous place about which to write fiction. In more than a few of the guides to D.C. fiction, a major premise is that the Great Washington Novel has yet to be written or has already been written. Uh-oh. And no pleasing everyone. One student of the genre holds up Allen Drury, […]