Fletcher Knebel – Night of Camp David (1965)

“A couple of months ago, prominent political pundits began buzzing about a provocative book by a Washington journalist. The book — which raised questions about what Congressional leaders should do if the president was mentally unstable and unfit for office — wasn’t a new expose about the Trump administration. It was a 1965 political thriller by Fletcher Knebel. The novel, ‘Night of Camp David,’ features an unhinged American president who falls prey to his own paranoia and conspiratorial fantasies, as people around him struggle to rein in his worst impulses. (A critic called the book ‘too plausible for comfort’ in a review published in The New York Times in 1965 — the same year that Congress passed the 25th Amendment, which provides a mechanism for removing a president who is deemed unfit to serve.) Now, more than 50 years after it was released, ‘Night of Camp David’ is getting a new life. Later this month, Vintage Books, a Penguin Random House imprint, is rereleasing the novel, as a paperback, e-book and audiobook. The publisher isn’t shying away from drawing parallels between the novel and our current overheated political climate, with a dramatic black cover flap that reprises the tagline on the original novel: ‘What Would Happen if the President of the U.S.A. Went Stark Raving Mad?’ … Messitte said she first became aware of the novel in early September, when Rachel Maddow spoke about it at length on MSNBC, and noted the eerie similarities between the fictional plot and the biggest political story of the day: the anonymous op-ed in The New York Times by a Trump official, who wrote that members of the administration were working to undermine the president’s agenda and had considered invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him. ‘Dystopian thriller books and movies like that invite us as Americans to imagine what we might do with a presidency gone that haywire,’ Maddow said. ‘It turns out, that all might have been good training because today’s news invites us Americans to consider the same.’ …”
NY Times
Guardian – Night of Camp David: the return of a 1965 book about an insane president

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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