American Politics Quiz


U.S. Politics in Literature


Test your knowledge of U.S. Politics in Literature.  You may not have read all the classics, but you’ve probably seen the films; as for the newbies, a little googling will clue you right in. The winner will receive a 30-euro (£20 / $30) gift certificate to spend at Amazon; in case of a tie, a name will be drawn. Deadline:  October 1, 2008

Nothing matters more than winning. Not even what you believe in.
1972 film  The Candidate




1.  This novel portrays the dramatic political ascent and radical populist Governorship of Willie Stark (a.k.a. "the Boss"), a character based on the real-life politician...

a. George Wallace
b. Huey Long
c. Lester Maddox
d. Bill Clinton

2.  Prize-winning, bestselling novel focusing on a mayoral election in an unnamed city (presumed to be Boston and based on a real-life mayor), shows the demise of old-style machine politics in the face of the era of the New Deal and other changes.  Narrated in large part by...       

a. the mayor’s nephew
b. the mayor’s wife
c. the city’s ex-mayor
d. the handsome, new candidate who will topple him

3. This novel shows the U.S. attempting to overthrow the communist regime of a Southeast Asian nation, inflicting severe physical damage on the country and causing moral damage to American policy; a good example of help that is well intended but unasked for, and of the hubris of dealing with another country without understanding its culture.  The fictional country is ...        

a. Thai-Pau
b. Suhnam
c. Sarkham
d. Burmara

4.  Thriller in which a Medal of Honor winner who was brainwashed while a POW in North Korea returns to the U.S. programmed to assassinate a presidential candidate.  The subconscious trigger to push him to follow orders is ...   

a. a twist of lime in ice water  
b. the offer of a Herbert Tarrington cigarette
c. the queen of diamonds in a deck of cards
d. the pawn of a chess set

5. This Pulitzer-Prize winning novel explores the reactions of those in and around the United States Senate to the controversial nomination of a former Communist Party member, to be United States Secretary of State.  Based loosely on the real-life Alger Hiss, the fictional character is ...  

a. James Morton  
b. Herbert Gelman
c. Brigham Anderson
d. Robert Leffingwell

6.  When an unknown aircraft approaches the U.S. from Europe, the U.S. military hastily takes action; the threat proves innocuous but supersonic bombers are already on their way to Moscow and the fail-safe procedure to stop them fails, which ends with the president of the U.S. offering ...     

a.  to take his own life as a show that nuclear war was not intended  
b.  to give Russia the opportunity to take out one American city in reprisal
c.  to allow Russia permission to set up a nuclear base in Cuba 
d.  to send an American bomber to destroy New York City at the same time

7. Another political thriller in which the president of the U.S., against much public disapproval, decides to sign a treaty with the Soviet Union that will supposedly result in both nations simultaneously destroying their nuclear weapons under mutual international inspection.  There is, however, a conspiracy among the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led by his own superior officer, to overthrow the government.  The name of the plot is ...

a. Operation  Communications Strategy
b. Emergency Communications Control
c. Red Code Control (RCC)
d. Mount Thunder

8. In this non-fiction book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, two of the journalists investigating the Watergate break-in and ensuing Watergate scandal, Woodward’s key source was known only as ...

a. Deep Throat
b. Stripper 13
c. Gemstone
d. Mary Lou

9. Lee Harvey Oswald is the focus of this literary, post-modernist novel that offers a speculative version of the events that led to the assassination; a parallel story within the narrative follows ...

a. a Cuban visionary
b. a CIA archivist
c. a Mafioso’s dream diary
d. an alternate-reality Lee Harvey Oswald

10. The main plot of this highly stylized and deliberately structured crime novel—inspired by the novel above—follows three rogue American law-enforcement officers and their involvement in the John F. Kennedy assassination.  Name the novel.

11. In this contemporary roman à clef, based loosely on the 1992 presidential campaign (the plot of which is borrowed wholesale from a much earlier novel referred to above), the presidential nominee’s campaign manager, on whom the book is centered, was inspired by the real-life campaign manager ...  

a. James Carville
b. Harold Ickes, Jr.
c. George Stephanopoulos
d. Mandy Grunwald

12. In this novel, an alternate history is created in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt is defeated in the presidential election of 1940 by ...

a. Charles Lindbergh
b. Henry Ford
c. Wendell Willkie
d. Dorothy Thompson

13. Edgar-winning novelist combines thriller and wildly dark humor in his creation of the Octavian Institute, an evil think tank, that controls the George W. Bush-like president, and has a plan for world domination called the Project for the New American Century.  The W-like character is one ...

a. Cornelius W. Bunger
b. Augustus Winthrop Scott
c. Milas Winston Jakes
d. W. W. Bunghole

14. Referred to as “Dr. Strangelove for the Eco generation,” this political satire set in the very near future portrays a president who, now that the global environment crisis is destroying parts of the world, opts for the idea of Mass Population Reduction—a plan to trigger a pandemic (blamed on terrorists) which, within a few hours, will kill 96 per cent of the world's population; i.e. all except the population of the United States.  The scare tactic to get  all the U.S. citizens inoculated against the virus, is what the government calls ...

a. Operation Deliverance
b. Protective Protocol
c. Inoculation  Assistance
d. Preemptive Medical Rescue

15. In yet another fictional take on the 1992 Democratic presidential candidate, this novel throws up all sorts of smarmy skeletons in the closet, including the candidate’s knocking up a college girlfriend, only to secretly wed her in Canada and then dump her. The Bill Clinton-like candidate here is named ...

a. Jack StantonI want out
b. Robert Conan
c. Blackford Oakes
d. Ruben Castle