Meticulous historical fiction, political thriller, spy caper, psychological tension, feminism, misogyny, demagoguery, skullduggery, secret societies, deep state, racism, civil rights, war heroes, and backroom dealings makes The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper, your new must read. The book grabs you from the first page and never lets up.
Thrown into the maelstrom that is Washington, DC during the Army-McCarthy hearings, the newly minted New York Congressman, war hero, academic celebrity, Charlie Marder, finds himself enmeshed in political intrigue so deep that it endangers not only his life, but the life of his wife and their unborn child. Marder starts his political career by annoying all the wrong people, or in other words he stands for the average person. He has no affiliations with power politicos. And even though he owes his political post to his father’s connections, he is owned by no one. Which is why he is a problem to so many deceptive people.
Wanting to do right by those GIs killed during World War Two, because of shoddy workmanship, Marder tries the straight forward approach to righting these wrongs. Unfortunately, nothing in DC is ever as it seems. He is drawn into a web of lies, double dealing, brinksmanship, all entwined with the fight against communism and corporate profits.
Painting a picture of 1950s DC, Tapper introduces the reader to all the important players of the time. We meet Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn, the Kennedy and Dulles brothers. We learn about the heroics of the veterans who returned from war, who decided to try to serve their country in another capacity. Moreover, the reader is treated to the 1950s realistic fear of communist encroachment, and what the fight for freedom both domestically, and abroad, truly entailed.
Additionally, we are educated about one of our most iconoclastic, and libertine, founding fathers. Meanwhile, some of our foibles as a nation are also laid bare, and we see why there was a fight for civil rights in this country in the first place. Above all the reader will be reminded that our country’s latest foray into reactionary politics is nothing we, as nation, haven’t weathered, and survived, before.
I read this book in three days. I simply could not put it down.
This book is available April 24, 2018.
Also, Jake Tapper is known for his book, The Outpost, which is a heartrending nonfiction book about Camp Keating in Afghanistan. If you want to understand what US service personnel are up against fighting now our longest war, and if you want to have an understanding of modern heroism, read this book as well.