Upcoming Event

Carlos Lozada at Harvard Book Store


The Washington Book:
How to Read Politics and Politicians 

in conversation with GEOFF EDGERS


June 24, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes CARLOS LOZADA—Pulitzer  Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times—for a discussion of his new book The Washington Book: How to Read Politics and Politicians. He will be joined in conversation by GEOFF EDGERS—national arts reporter at The Washington Post and author of Walk This Way.

About The Washington Book

As a long-time book critic and columnist in Washington, Carlos Lozada dissects all manner of texts: commission reports, political reporting, Supreme Court decisions, and congressional inquiries to understand the controversies animating life in the capital. He also reads copious books by politicians and top officials: tell-all accounts by administration insiders, campaign biographies by candidates longing for high office, revisionist memoirs by those leaving those offices behind. With this provocative essay collection, Lozada argues that no matter how carefully political figures sanitize their experiences, positions, and records, no matter how diligently they present themselves in the best and safest and most electable light, they almost always let slip the truth. They show us their faults and blind spots, their ambitions and compromises, their underlying motives and insecurities. Whether they mean to or not, they tell us who they really are.

In his memoirs and speeches, Barack Obama constantly invoked the power and meaning of his life story, Lozada notes, a sign of how the former president capitalized on his personal symbolism, trying to transform it from inspiration on the campaign trail into an all-purpose governing tool. In a soliloquy about his hair in a self-help book published two decades ago, Donald Trump revealed not just his vanity, Lozada explains, but his utter isolation from the world, long before he entered the bubble of the White House. In deft and lacerating prose, Lozada interprets the unresolved tensions of Hillary Clinton’s ideological beliefs. He imagines the wonderful memoir George H.W. Bush could have given us but instead left scattered in throughout various books and letters. He explores why Kamala Harris has struggled to carve out a distinctive role as vice president. He explains how Ron DeSantis’s pitch to America is just a list of enemies. And he even glimpses what Vladimir Putin fears the most, and why he seeks conflict with the West. He does so all through their own books, and their own words.

Lozada reads these books so you don’t have to. The Washington Book is the perfect guide to the state of our politics, and then men and women who dominate the terrain. It explores the construction of personal identity, the delusions of leadership, and that mix of subservience and ambition that can define a life in politics. The more we read the stories of Washington, Lozada contends, the clearer our understanding of the competing visions of our country.

Praise for The Washington Book

“An absolutely original genius.” —Bob Woodward, The Washington Post

The Washington Book marks Carlos Lozada as the great D.C. essayist of our time, at once unsparing and gentle, erudite and entertaining. He punctures the self-puffing, the vaguely corrupt and the seriously criminal with charming alacrity, but he also makes accessible serious ideas about power and policy that Washington must somehow get right, in spite of itself.” —Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars and The Achilles Trap

“Carlos Lozada is a triple threat: imaginative thinker, uncompromising critic, impeccable writer line for line. Also? Does his homework and plays fair.” —Jennifer Senior, Atlantic staff writer and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Carlos Lozada
Carlos Lozada

Carlos Lozada

Carlos Lozada is an opinion columnist at the New York Times and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He is the author of What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era and co-host of the weekly Matter of Opinion podcast. Previously, he was a book critic and senior editor at the Washington Post and the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. Lozada has been a Knight-Bagehot fellow at Columbia University and a professor of political journalism at the University of Notre Dame.

Photo Credit: Bill O'Leary

Geoff Edgers
Geoff Edgers

Geoff Edgers

Geoff Edgers is the national arts reporter at The Washington Post and a former staff reporter for The Boston Globe. He’s the author of Walk This Way: Run-DMC, Aerosmith, and the Song that Changed American Music Forever as well as children’s books about The Beatles, Stan Lee and Julia Child (with Carlene Hempel) in Penguin’s Who Was series. He lives in Concord, MA.

Photo credit: Geoff Edgers

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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