The Sound of Trumpets
By John Mortimer
(Penguin USA; 288 pages; $12.95 paperback)

One can easily understand that political satire goes down hard in Washington: Some will like it; others will not. This assessment often has little to do with literary factors, but depends mostly on whose ox is being gored. Whether it’s Henry Adams’ Democracy, Joseph Heller’s Good as Gold, or Joe Klein’s Primary Colors, the harshest critics are most likely to be those feeling the author’s lash.

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