In honor of the inauguration this week

Washington Schlepped Here: Walking in the Nation’s Capital by Christopher Buckley

A pure delight. That’s what this book is. A delight. And if you watched the inauguration coverage this week, you saw some of the terrain it covers.

I listened to this book—it’s a little thing, only 3 CDs in length—and it’s nothing but good. I’ve actually listened to it three times now: once just for fun, once in preparation for a trip to Washington D.C., and one more time just because. Buckley confesses to being no expert on D.C., but he gathers the good stuff from the various books about the city and its history, and he wraps it up in the nicest little gift-wrapping and presents it to us. The book is set up as a guide to a few walking tours, and I found that I could “walk” along with him in my head, both before and after my recent trip to Washington. The “walking tour” format is really actually only a device that allows Buckley to string together the interesting facts and anecdotes related to various Washington sites—including some anecdotes about his days working in the OEOB, facts about the Capitol, the story of the building of the Washington Monument (and why it took so long), and the story of Pierre L’Enfant.

The only down side I found is that Buckley is, of course, a partisan, and he occasionally lapses into a brief, snarky comment about the left—which was out-of-step with the light tone of the rest of the book. It’s a minor thing, though, given his wonderful sense of humor and the joy he takes in his adopted city. He loves Washington, D.C.; I love Washington, D.C.; how can you not love Washington, D.C.?

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