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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An hilarious insight into of the perils of government, 14 Feb 2001
By 
Age & Guile was my first literary encounter with the genius that is P J O'Rourke. That was enough to persuade me that here was a man after my own heart - one of the requisites for enjoyable reading. I was lucky to find my copy of Parliament of Whores in a charity shop (sorry Amazon!)and was delighted to find that this book is proof positive of my own long held view that government of any hue is a monstrous waste of money. PJ's comments are timeless. It matters not that this book was written about the George Bush Snr presidential period. The point he makes is that, politicians being what they are, the system never changes, regardless of which political party is in power. As such, whilst the scale of governmental economic waste in USA is obviously vastly in excess of our own dear govenment's increasingly ambitious attempts to measure up, PJ's insights into the political process are as relevant to our own political system as to the American way. Assuming, of course, that you are not a political 'groupie', there are comments on virtually every page which are guaranteed to raise at least a broad smile and the old chestnut about the dangers of reading this book in a public place, for fear of laughing out loud, holds good.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vodka and Ice...no umbrella please, 27 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Any book that contains a chapter titled "Our government:What the **** do they do all day and why does it cost so Goddamned much money" has to be a modern classic. The entire US Government (and, by extension, all governments) are mercilessly pilloried in a style that had me crying with laughter. Although the book has dated slightly (it was written mostly in the late 80s) the problems that it tackles are still relevant (only the names of the guilty have changed). PJ O'Rourke has a reputation for being a right winger, but don't let that throw you. He advocates less government, and so will you after reading this book (especially after reading PJ's fantasy budget cuts!). After reading this book I systematically read PJ's other books. They are all worthwhile (especially "All the trouble in the world", "Holidays in Hell" and "Republican Party Reptile".)They all basically provide "eyewitness accounts of Mankind's struggle against tyranny, injustice and alcohol free beer." But "Parliament of Whores" is my favourite, purely because his writing is so unrelentingly ascerbic. PJ for President! ...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny and savage look at government, 22 Jun 2003
By 
Mr. Robert Kelly "robert_kelly" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government (O'Rourke, P. J.) (Paperback)
PJ O'Rourke's examination of how the US government works(or doesn't,) might be over a decade old, but seems as fresh and funny as if it were written yesterday. The fact that it was written during the early years of the adminstration of Bush snr adds much to the up to date feel. Though focusing on the US, much of what O'Rourke says is relevant to governments everywhere.
The truth about how government works is almost as shocking as it is hilarious. An excellent antidote to those who feel that everything in life would be better if we just threw more government at it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a classic, 13 Jun 2011
By 
Magic Lemur (Somewhere in Madagascar) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I first heard about this book from an eccentric English teacher at school and ever since then it has been sitting on my bookshelf as one of those 'classics' that begs to be read but never is.
After 10 years, it seemed about time to read it. Although some aspects of a now 20 year old publication seem dated (e.g. President George Bush. Snr.), Andrew Ferguson still gets it right in his, now 10 year old introduction in saying that the book is timeless.

In fact, surprisingly many of the problems the USA has now (e.g. Debt and an aging population) weren't just embryonic back then but apparently just as big problems as they are now. And all that has changed in the meantime is the scale of the issues. Where the author talks about how closely watched the President is (to the point that his every word is dissected for hidden meaning), you can see that this is undoubtedly just as true now.
There is also the federal budget, which back then was notoriously unreadable and consisted of one, and only one, copy. It also had a feature called 'off budget' spending, meaning trillions of dollars weren't even counted, let alone analysed. Has this changed? Unlikely.

On top of this, there are a number of other eerily reminiscent features, such as the $500bn bailouts of the Savings & Loans companies, which are echoed by our $700bn bailouts of George W Bush. Then there is pork barrel and special interest spending, which has only increased with time.

In fact, it is fair to say that many of our current trends (e.g. excess spending, lax bank regulations and the failure of 'war on drugs') were obvious even back then.

So although the Cold war and both Bush presidents are now (thankfully) behind us, greed, self interest and the "perenially indignant" still remain. Furthermore, few American commentators have succeeded in replicating O'Rourke's famed Gonzo wit (he is officially the most quoted humourous author in history). Literally every page contained something new, funny or insightful and usually all three.

If, like me, you have this book gathering dust on a shelf, then I recommend you pick it up and read it. It is still as vivid as the day it was written containing valuable insights and essential reading into how little things change with time.

Incidentally, for those that think P.J. O'Rourke is a has-been, do a search for some of his videos as he still makes many valuable contributions to politics, even in his 60's...

P.S. For those of you that want the original version of this book, look no further than this copy. However, if you want a 10th anniversary edition, then go here: Parliament of Whores
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still a classic, 13 Jun 2011
By 
Magic Lemur (Somewhere in Madagascar) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government (O'Rourke, P. J.) (Paperback)
I first heard about this book from an eccentric English teacher at school and ever since then it has been sitting on my bookshelf as one of those 'classics' that begs to be read but never is.
After 10 years, it seemed about time to read it. Although some aspects of a now 20 year old publication seem dated (e.g. President George Bush. Snr.), Andrew Ferguson still gets it right in his, now 10 year old introduction in saying that the book is timeless.

In fact, surprisingly many of the problems the USA has now (e.g. Debt and an aging population) weren't just embryonic back then but apparently just as big problems as they are now. And all that has changed in the meantime is the scale of the issues. Where the author talks about how closely watched the President is (to the point that his every word is dissected for hidden meaning), you can see that this is undoubtedly just as true now.
There is also the federal budget, which back then was notoriously unreadable and consisted of one, and only one, copy. It also had a feature called 'off budget' spending, meaning trillions of dollars weren't even counted, let alone analysed. Has this changed? Unlikely.

On top of this, there are a number of other eerily reminiscent features, such as the $500bn bailouts of the Savings & Loans companies, which are echoed by our $700bn bailouts of George W Bush. Then there is pork barrel and special interest spending, which has only increased with time.

In fact, it is fair to say that many of our current trends (e.g. excess spending, lax bank regulations and the failure of 'war on drugs') were obvious even back then.

So although the Cold war and both Bush presidents are now (thankfully) behind us, greed, self interest and the "perenially indignant" still remain. Furthermore, few American commentators have succeeded in replicating O'Rourke's famed Gonzo wit (he is officially the most quoted humourous author in history). Literally every page contained something new, funny or insightful and usually all three.

If, like me, you have this book gathering dust on a shelf, then I recommend you pick it up and read it. It is still as vivid as the day it was written containing valuable insights and essential reading into how little things change with time.

Incidentally, for those that think P.J. O'Rourke is a has-been, do a search for some of his videos as he still makes many valuable contributions to politics, even in his 60's...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Good Good, 8 Sep 2009
By 
pikeman "last_man_standing" (an island in the eastern Atlantic) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government (O'Rourke, P. J.) (Paperback)
This is a book about government - making it a simple as possible and so showing up the absurdities.
O'Rourke isn't a politician (although he has political views) or an economist (although he has the basics)so he ends up doing the simple things - like take the total US Agriculture Budget and divide it by the number of (real) farmers and get such a big number you think the decimal place must be in the wrong place!

It's a exaggerated(?) view of what happens to our money when we take our eyes off politicians.

It's also very very very funny!!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World's finest book, 16 Oct 2010
This review is from: Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government (O'Rourke, P. J.) (Paperback)
I'm no bookworm but I've read enough authors and genres to have a sense of scale across the book world. And no matter how good Franzen is, and he is brilliant, and all the other great American writers, this book is still the most fun, the most educational, and, peculiarly as it's set in one specific political moment, it feels completely fresh and refuses to age. I'm voting for this as the World's Greatest Book...... Now I'm going to lie down in a dark room and reflect on what I've just said.
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