Author(s): P. J. O'Rourke
This election cycle was so absurd that celebrated political satirist, journalist, and die-hard Republican P. J. O'Rourke endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. How the Hell Did This Happen? is his essential take on the stranger-than-fiction (and stranger-than-fact) 2016 presidential election and its equally unbelievable aftermath.
Starting with the full cast of presidential candidates, P.J. analyzes his way through the debates and key primaries, campaign platforms (or lack thereof), and presidential style (or lack thereof) to show us how Donald J. Trump, a man whose "haircut makes Kim Jong-un laugh," happened to America. Along the way, P.J. offers a brief history of how our insane primary process evolved and offers up some fresh ideas for a better way to choose a president (part I: road trip ). After the results are tallied, P.J. reckons with our new age: "America is experiencing a change in the nature of leadership. We're getting rid of our leaders. And we're starting at the top." And in a new epilogue for the paperback edition, P.J. looks at Trump's first few months in office and tackles the next big question: "When the hell will this end?"
O'Rourke has a nice, world-weary way with the US's present political follies... He hasn't lost his gift for the brutally effective one-liner. * Guardian * scabrously witty, inventive and rich in historical detail... O'Rourke is never less than pleasurable company. There were chapters in this book I read twice just for the fun of it... I am already looking forward to the companion volume What The Hell Happens Next? * The Times * extremely funny * Sunday Times * O'Rourke has a real eye for the vagaries of American politics and, on occasion, piercing insight. * Observer * O'Rourke has been for decades the wittiest guide to America, and the usual ingredients are packed into this volume. How the Hell Did This Happen? is scabrously witty, inventive and rich in historical detail. * The Australian * Whether you agree with him or not, P.J. writes a helluva piece. * Richard Nixon * Who better than one of America's most-respected humourists to make sense of an election in which real life frequently appeared to approach satire? * The Week * P.J. O'Rourke is like S.J. Perelman on acid. * Chris Buckley * P.J. O'Rourke was really the first to inject non-liberal hilarity into political discourse . . . But more important, he was able to yank conservatives out of the hands of the humorless and shrill, and make such writing accessible . . . He changed my life. * Greg Gutfeld * [O'Rourke] occupies a rare place among the laughing class: He has somehow avoided the orifice obsession that captivates many of its members; he identifies as Republican; and he is no mere thumb-sucker, having visited more than 40 countries to report on wars, regime changes, economic revolutions and the experience of drinking cocktails garnished with the poison sacs of cobras. * Wall Street Journal * Outspoken conservatives have long been a minority in comedy, particularly in the mainstream media, which provided an opportunity for P.J. O'Rourke, who for decades cornered the market for prominent right-wing humorists . . . If his wry essays have a mission statement . . . it's this: Starchy -Republicanism is really, really fun. * New York Times Book Review * As a cultural analyst, O'Rourke's ability and willingness to simultaneously lampoon and celebrate himself and his generation are unequaled. * Publishers Weekly *
P.J. O'Rourke has written seventeen books on subjects as diverse as politics and cars and etiquette and economics. He is a columnist for the Daily Beast. He lives in rural New England, as far away from the things he writes about as he can get.