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Here Are Jake Tapper’s Favorite Books About DC

No, Fire and Fury is not on the list.
Tapper will read from his newest book, The Hellfire Club, at GW's Jack Morton Auditorium on May 2. Photograph courtesy of CNN.

Somehow, CNN anchor Jake Tapper tore himself away from the news to write his debut novel, a thriller set in 1950s Washington. Which DC books does Tapper love? He filled us in on a few of his favorites.

Washington Confidential by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer

This gossipy 1951 tell-all has grown into a cult classic. “At the time, it was regarded as junk,” Tapper says. “It portrayed the 1950s as anything but benign. There was a lot of corruption and debauchery behind the scenes.”

Advise and Consent by Allen Drury

A fictionalized 1959 look at the McCarthy era. “They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. There’s a lot of rhyming when it comes to McCarthyism and some of the debates we’re having in the public square today about decency, lies, and smearing by public officials.”

Right as Rain by George Pelecanos

The local crime novelist introduced private investigator Derek Strange in this 2001 murder mystery. “I love his evocative descriptions of the city that have nothing to do with its being the capital. His novels are more about the actual citizens of Washington, DC, than the politicians.”

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Before it was a Jennifer Lawrence movie, it was a tense espionage novel. “Matthews did a really good job of portraying that world of dark taverns where a senator might meet with a Russian agent. I’ve heard the movie’s not great, so I’m going to stick with the book.”

See Tapper read from his newest book, The Hellfire Club, at GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium on May 2.

This article appeared in the May 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

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Helen joined Washingtonian in January 2018. She studied Journalism and International Relations at the University of Southern California. She recently won an Online News Award for her work on a project about the effects of the Salton Sea, California’s greatest burgeoning environmental disaster, on a Native American tribe whose ancestral lands are on its shores. Before joining the magazine, Helen worked in Memphis covering education for Chalkbeat. Her work has appeared in USA Today, The Desert Sun, Chalkbeat Tennessee, Sunset Magazine, Indiewire, and others.