Written by the late journalist Fletcher Knebel – “the grandfather of the modern political thriller”, in the appraisal of critic Terry Teachout – Night of Camp David was originally published in the stream of Washington suspense novels that surged after the Cuban missile crisis. Many of those books – Seven Days in May, Fail Safe, Advise and Consent and The President’s Plane Is Missing – became movies that still populate lists of the best cold war thrillers.
Night of Camp David was not made into a film, perhaps because the book’s basic premise – “Wouldn’t it be scary if one of the fallible humans in charge of nuclear war went insane?” – had exploded on to the big screen just one year prior, in Doctor Strangelove.
Part of the sport of reading Night of Camp David today is measuring the distance between the presidential conduct that freaked out the fictional senator MacVeagh and the conduct of the current White House occupant.
Read the full article from The Guardian here: