A Political Novel Starring ... Oregon

Remember that great politician Mick Whelan, Congressman and Senator, who worked to build a national system of light rail?  He worked with Republicans and inspired hope and faith and national service.  Just one of Oregon's many mavericks from the 70s who helped define politics. 

Okay, true, he's actually a character in Lewis & Clark professor John Callahan's new novel, but if you squint your eyes, you can almost see him back there shaking hands with Tom McCall and Neil Goldschmidt. 

The Denver Post's short review expands on the narrative:

At its best, "A Man You Could Love" is a moving tribute to that which is inspiring in politics and politicians. Michael J. "Mick" Whelan, present at the "I Have a Dream Speech"; staffer for the Eugene McCarthy campaign of 1968; and later a U.S. congressman and senator, represents the American political ideal. Callahan He is a man of unquestioned integrity, a uniter, not a divider, a man blessed with the tongue of angels. A man you could love and who might, just might, rise all the way to the top.

Gabe Bontempo, who narrates this near-epic, is Whelan's longtime right-hand man. An archetypal political junkie, Gabe has aspirations of his own but lacks Whelan's charisma, his looks and his ability to schmooze with sincerity. So Gabe settles for being Mick's top adviser, charting his course to the top.

An Oregon liberal, Whelan tries his best to keep the spirit of the '60s alive, forging alliances across the aisle in the early 1970s to enact legislation to build a national, high-speed rail network and mandate national service for all young people. His efforts, described in great detail, appear headed for shocking success, until - well, read the book to find out.

The Post concludes with this comment, about the audience that will most delight in the story:

"A Man You Can Love" is chock- full of sausage-making. If the legislative process in all its glory is your idea of prime entertainment, by all means dive in. If your passion for legislation falls somewhat short of that, you may find yourself skimming over lengthy passages of this otherwise worthy novel.

Let's see, entertained by the legislative process.  A few of you may fit the description.  You can buy a copy here (or a signed copy here).


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