Echo House This family saga from a National Book Award finalist is a brilliantly orchestrated tale of several generations of Washington D C insiders Booklist Here is Just s masterpiece an epic chronicle of thre

  • Title: Echo House
  • Author: Ward Just
  • ISBN: 9780547525808
  • Page: 436
  • Format: ebook
  • This family saga from a National Book Award finalist is a brilliantly orchestrated tale of several generations of Washington, D.C insiders Booklist Here is Just s masterpiece an epic chronicle of three generations of Washington power brokers and the womenfolk who loved them except when they didn t The Washington Post described this book as a fascinating if ultimThis family saga from a National Book Award finalist is a brilliantly orchestrated tale of several generations of Washington, D.C insiders Booklist Here is Just s masterpiece an epic chronicle of three generations of Washington power brokers and the womenfolk who loved them except when they didn t The Washington Post described this book as a fascinating if ultimately painful fairy tale, complete with a family curse The decline of the Behls represents the decline of Washington from the bright dawn of the American century into the gathering shadows of an alien new millennium.

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      Published :2019-01-01T04:03:03+00:00

    One thought on “Echo House”

    1. This is a strange book. I was hoping to like it, since it's about Washington and politics, and it was a National Book Award Finalist. But none of the characters seem real (or likeable), and though it was published in 1997 it feels like it was written in the 1940s. It is a musty read. You just plod through the pages waiting for people to die, and eventually some of them do.

    2. Echo House is the story about three generations of patrician Washington power brokers, and their descending careers as American politics changed over time. I will be honest, I did not expect to like this novel and only read it because it was a finalist for the National Book Award. I’m glad I read it – fantastic.The book starts with a disappointment. The first generation was led by Adolph Behl and his wife Constance. “She saw the great boulevards as canals and the White House as a palace, i [...]

    3. This wasn't an easy book to slog through. I even had to take a break and read a mystery before tackling the second half of Echo House. In this work of fiction, political power in Washington rests with a few men, most of whom are never elected to office. Fortunately, in Just's book, these men are not seeking riches or glory, but are truly dedicated to "good government". The media is mostly a handy tool, the electorate doesn't seem to be very important, presidents come and go. Some presidents are [...]

    4. Reading a book chosen by others can be quite an interesting endeavor, as is the case with a book discussion group. Often, one has no or very few preconceptions & this was certainly the case with Echo House by Ward Just, none of whose works I'd previously read. It would seem that the name of the old Behl mansion in Washington, D.C. is apt, as it is definitely filled with many echoes & the gathered ghosts of times past, of the lingering scent of three generations of the politically-engaged [...]

    5. This rather cerebral novel about 20th-century American politics has little incident and a lot of analysis. It follows three generations of a family important in Democratic politics from a disappointing night in the life of Senator Adolph Behl (presumably during the Wilson administration) to a dramatic night in the lives of his son and grandson. Most of the Presidential administrations mentioned are real, although the last one is not. Axel Behl, the Senator's son, is involved in intelligence work [...]

    6. scud:(noun) 1. swift movement: a swift smooth movement2. clouds driven by wind: low clouds that are driven swiftly by the wind3. sudden shower or gust: a sudden shower of rain or gust of windcross the Rubicon:(noun) to do something that commits you to a particular course of action[Early 17th century. After the stream in N Italy that Julius Caesar crossed illegally with his army in 49 BC, making civil war inevitable:]point of no return: a point at which any action taken commits the person taking [...]

    7. This is a subtle, resonant portrait of Washington, D.C. when the city was the seat of a functioning government rather than a mosh pit of squabbling ideologues. For Ward Just fans, this is a real treat. His portrayal of the erudite and ruthless members of the permanent governing class is brilliant, a highly evocative passion play against the backdrop of a Washington closer in spirit to a European capital rather than a dysfunctional banana republic. His moving portrait of one complex political fam [...]

    8. I was worried, in the first few chapters, that Echo House would not live up to my expectations after reading The Congressman Who Loved Flaubert. It does. This is, in fact, very much a novel-length story from that collection, populated by the kind of people who could say:“If only the American people were as good and competent and compassionate as their government.”Washington is a town of secrets, favors, and people who know where the favors are buried.“You’re a lucky man, to know people w [...]

    9. The story of a political heritage in Washington, passed from father to son, to son. Hidden loyalties, public embarrassments. All at a time when the scene was shifting. Think I need to read his earlier Washington/politico-focused novel, Jack Gance. Still amazed that I've only known about Just since Christmas [2004] when he's already got so many great books out there just waiting for me to read them!! He thought that when sadness closed its fist around your heart, it would never relax until it had [...]

    10. This is an well-written book, exploring Washington from the perspective of a well-connected political family. The first generation depicted includes a US Senator named Adolph Behl who aspires to be Vice President. The second generation is represented by a son (Axel Behl) who works behind the scenes, often in or for clandestine services. He openly backs Stevenson against Ike, but the book rarely dips into electoral politics. Instead, the book is about influence, power, and proximity to the ship o [...]

    11. It’s a commonplace that what transpires “inside the Beltway” that rings Washington, DC, is at best a poor reflection of American views and values. Over the years, scholars, pollsters, and pundits have attempted to understand this contrast, but the mechanistic tools of science and the biases of political analysts fail to grasp the nuances of the way things get done in the nation’s capital. Reading fiction is a better route to understanding the peculiar character of Washington’s insular [...]

    12. 12/12/12Read again for book discussion. The power relationships are subtle and even more complicated the second time through the book. It's interesting to watch power mavens take control sometimes without anyone realizing it. Other times the power relationship is the point of everything. And when you make a wrong move you are out and without power you are nothing. Doesn't speak well about how government operates, but the people are sure interesting.A beautifully written book. The main "character [...]

    13. If you don't know this about me, if I'm not in love with a book by page 100, I seriously consider giving up. I'm giving up on this book at page 130. Ward Just is "the" consummate novelist - he is amazing and such a great writer. His books are slow moving, though, and not a lot of action. Right now there is just not enough here to keep my interest. This is a novel of a political family, likened by many to the Kennedys. Here Ward Just brings you through generations of this political family, exposi [...]

    14. So I keep looking for good DC fiction. And "Echo House" was well written, constructed and plotted. But it wasn't a story about Washington, DC the city so much as the concept of Washington DC as the engine that drives the whole world. (A little New York-complexy maybe?)The description of who you have to be to have power in Washington didn't seem all that different from what I have had a chance to experience in Philadelphia politics. At at the other end of the scale, the book was pretty hubris-tic [...]

    15. I made it through to the end. This book was not "West Wing"! I only finished it because I wanted to see how it endedd then I ended up skimming many pages.The author's style wasn't enjoyable to me; it was confusing at times and I had to look back to remind myself who he was writing aboutA today had Ward's new book listed as a great summer read so I thought I would check out an old one from the library. I won't be reading any more by this author.

    16. This book was interesting but very hard to read. Lots of facts about politics in Washington,DC. It's a family novel about family was involved in the politics from FDR to Reagen. The father and son area a team and the stories about the people in their lives is very interesting but the story keeps going off on different points, that may interest a lot of people but it was too much for me. If you are really interested in what is going on in Washington this is a great book to read.

    17. Ward Just is a wonderful writer, but this inside view of Washington statecraft didn't fully engage me. The characters are nicely drawn, the interactions with real history interesting. Bottom line: there's little fun in the life of a political functionary. Folks fascinated with life inside the beltway might like it better. Just does a good job in describing the work of journalists: "His view of human nature was as wide as a column of type."

    18. I wish I could remember what made me want to read this book. It was like something by Henry James, who was certainly a good writer but whose wordy, detailed style is definitely out of fashion these days. This one is set in Washington DC mostly in the 1940s to 1970s and depicts a family of government insiders, including a senator, and the people who matter in their lives. I had trouble caring about them.

    19. This was a solid book. I was slow to enjoy it but by the middle was enthusiastically hooked.The characters were loathsome. Good, who says you have to like the characters to enjoy the book? Yes, politics fascinates me. The characters in BROTHERS KARAMAZOV were loathsome as well, but that was one of the best books translated into the English language.It left a few dangling questions, however. I would`ve liked to learn more about the partisans, especially Alex`s heart throb.

    20. I hadn't read any Ward Just before this volume. He is a skilled writer, able to develop characters and also create a shadowy environment for them to inhabit. There are no heros in the book and almost no one I felt like rooting for, but the story was well told and suspenseful. It felt very much like a 'man's' story to me. None of the women rang very true and most were introduced and then scuttled by the cold men they loved.

    21. Ward Just understands the way Washington works like few other authors. His view is not particularly kind, however. Echo House follows three generations of a political family, each one more cynical than the last. I didn't like any of the characters -- that seemed to be by design. What makes the book worth reading is the beautiful writing; the subtle, intelligent dialogue; and Just's insights into politics and human nature. The last line of the novel is devastating.

    22. Read this in 1997 and it is still on my shelf because I thought I might try it again some day. It is one of those books that you know you should like, but you don't. All I can remember is being rather bored by the whole thing and I really don't think I will ever go back and try again. It was recommended by a radio personality who gave it rave reviews. I think it was just too brainy for me.

    23. This book reminded me of Gate City--primarily the tone and the setting. I enjoyed the insider view of Washington and especially liked how characters that were introduced early on turned up later as actual historical people.

    24. Ward Just seems to have wandered off from chronicling Washington (which wasn't paying, though it might now). But this is certainly one of his finest books on the scene. For the record, I read it before I started (or while I was writing) the first of my Vampires at Law series, Blood, Justice, LLP: Vampires at Law.

    25. Didn't love this as much as An Unfinished Season, but maybe that's because of my Chicago bias. This novel, set in DC, follows the political lives of three generations of the Behl family and their friends, lovers, and associates.Much of the political intrigue is described obliquely, and never fully explained (which is appropriate for characters who prefer to work in the shadows).

    26. I'd give it 3.5 if I could. Parts of this book felt extraneous and a little dull. Overall, though, it's an absorbing saga that follows a powerful Washington family from 1916 to the last decade of the last century. Ward Just doesn't use this novel to judge or to make grand statements, which can be both a help and a hindrance.

    27. People who like John LeCarre may like Ward Just. He writes dry, yet descriptive drawn-out prose with a moderately complex plot. It is a bit difficult to warm up to any of the characters even though the reader can picture them perfectly. This story provides an especially good look at politics during the Cold War era.

    28. Not something I would have chosen myself. It was assigned by my intro to politics professor. It is an interesting read. The author does have get bogged down in to many details in a few places. But it is worth the read simply for the part in France during the second World War. I would recommend this book.

    29. I honestly tried, but I couldn't get through this book. Although I appreciated the writing, and enjoyed several of the passages and interactions, on the whole I found it slow-paced and ponderous with too much focus on politics, which doesn't interest me, and less on character development, interactions, and relationships, which interest me far more.

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