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Only in America
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Matt Frei, the BBC's Washington correspondent, goes under the skin of the nation's capital to discover the paradox of the world's last remaining superpower; a city that represents a nation where 30 percent of its citizens believe in the Second Coming but where more money is spent on pornography than college education. Imagine a city so powerful that the weapons commanded from its ministries could obliterate the globe many times over and yet so vulnerable that it cannot prevent a seventeen year old boy from killing half a dozen of its inhabitants in a shooting spree that lasts for a whole month. A city so rich that it spends 150 million dollars a year on corporate lunches, dinners and fundraisers and yet so poor that its streets are frequently as potholed as those of any forgotten backwater in the developing world. A city that deploys more armed officers per square mile than any other in the world but has earned the title of being its country's murder capital. A city where 565 elected Congressmen and Senators are chased, charmed, cajoled and sometimes bribed by 35,000 registered lobbyists; where the most illustrious resident travels with a fleet of planes and a small army of body guards but where the mayor for 12 years was a convicted crack addict who believed that every law in his own country was racist, 'including the law of gravity'. A city that plays host to seventeen different spying agencies, employing 23,000 agents, none of whom were able to discover a plot that involved flying civilian airliners into buildings, even though the plotters had littered their path with clues. Hard to imagine? Welcome to Washington DC: the Rome of the 21st century. It is a place that inspires awe, revulsion or analysis but rarely affection. Every newspaper editor tells his new Washington correspondent to travel outside 'the Beltway', to get under the skin of the real America beyond the 495 Interstate that snakes the city with its glutinous flow of traffic all day long. But after almost six years in Washington, Matt Frei has realised that the key to understanding America lies within the walls of the diamond shaped District of Columbia. Key title / The paperback edition will be fully updated to cover the US presidential elections and their aftermath. / Published to coincide with the inauguration of the new US President / Matt Frei has been the BBC Washington correspondent since 2002 and is one Britain's most well respected foreign correspondents. He is also well known for reading the BBC1 6pm news bulletin / Matt Frei has won several awards for his journalism including the Amnesty International Asia Award in 1997 and 1998 for his reports on Vietnam and Indonesia, and a Royal Television Society International News Award for his reports of turmoil in East Timor.

About the Author

Matt Frei has been the BBC's Washington correspondent since 2002. Prior to that he was the BBC's Asia correspondent based in Singapore, and in Hong Kong -- taking up his post just before the handover to China. From 1992 to 1996 he was BBC Southern Europe correspondent in Rome from where he covered events in Bosnia, North Africa and the Mafia. He has witnessed many dramatic events including the fall of Berlin Wall and reported on the intifada and the Gulf War as the London foreign affairs correspondent.

Reviews

'The best correspondent of our generation.' Jon Snow 'If you are searching for a book to describe the current mood in America, look not further.You would expect Matt Frei to demonstrate his skill as a brilliant reporter, but "Only in America" is also surprisingly funny. He moves from high politics to daily life with an engaging confidence, and he almost convinced me that it is possible to understand what they are up to.' John Sergeant 'A first class guide to US politics in general, and Washington DC in particular.' Daily Mail 'An excellent, quirky guide to Washington life!it is also a memoir of America in the post 9/11 Dubya year. Frei has a felicitous turn of phrase and his observations are always insightful and sometimes extremely funny.' Sunday Express

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