This is the original book that was the inspiration for the hit Netflix series staring Kevin Spacey. Set in England, House of Cards follows the political fortunes of the British Prime Minister as he faces his opposition after a winning (barely) election for his party. Contrary to expectations, however, it’s his own party that he has to watch his back around. Author Michael Dobbs gives us a glimpse in the dark underside of national politics.
“A politician should never spend too much time thinking. It distracts attention from guarding his back.”
I have little doubt that this novel bears a striking resemblance to real world “democracies” as one only has to consider how many young, bright, energetic elected officials are shown what’s really up once they get to their capitals. Being shown the ropes seems to me something different in politics.
“It’s not respect but fear that motivates a man; that’s how empires are built and revolutions begin. It is the secret of great men. When a man is afraid you will crush him, utterly destroy him, his respect will always follow. Base fear is intoxicating, overwhelming, liberating. Always stronger than respect. Always.”
This novel also speaks to the quality of the people who actually go into politics. Political correctness has given us bland politicians; blemish-free or blemish-hidden trolls who don’t stand for much, but simply flow with the winds or in their case the polls.
“He could never get over the feeling of how inconsequential so many of the recent office holder of the office had been. Uninspiring, unfitted for the task. By contrast, the likes of Lloyd George and Churchill had been magnificent natural leaders, but would they be allowed to rise to the top nowadays?”
As story unfolds and later starts to unravel the reader is able to look back at the actions and piece together what is happening and look forward to what is to come. With all that said, the ending is a shocker!