As the Republican primaries begin, a foundering Newt Gingrich has announced he will publish eight never-before-released books, adding to his already impressive body of policy treatises, polemics and alternative history novels. The new books are summarized here by the author.
A Good Explanation
Widely respected public figure Newt Gingrich is hired to advise the mortgage giant Freddie Mac, an organization now known to have played a role in the United States' economic collapse. For his services, Gingrich is paid $1.6 million. Asked about the large sum and questionable nature of the work, Gingrich explains that he provided advice in his capacity as a "historian." This satisfies pretty much everyone.
The Happy Place
A poor, inner-city school decides to adopt one of Newt Gingrich's boldest policy proposals, hiring all of its 784 children as part-time janitors. The students develop a hearty work ethic and spark a national conversation: "Can a school be too clean?" Visiting the school during a pep rally, Gingrich slips on an excessively-mopped gym floor; deafening applause greets him as he rises and gives the "ok" sign. Later, in an elaborate coronation ceremony, he is crowned The Swiffer King.
Valley Forge: The Untold Story
It's 1778, and the American Continental Army is hunkered down in the wintry inferno of Valley Forge. Grasping for a plan, George Washington summons a young soldier, Newt Gingrich, widely respected among his fellows as an "ideas man." The next day, the Americans prevail, thanks to advice provided by Gingrich in his capacity as a historian. For his services he is paid $1.6 million.
The Pastrami Diaries
This guide for frugal travelers chronicles the adventures of Newt Gingrich, a small-town boy with big ideas, as he spends a day in New York City. Strolling along Fifth Avenue, he considers opening a $500,000 revolving credit line at Tiffany & Co., the legendary jeweler, and then laughs -- that would obviously clash with his fiscally conservative values. Instead, he walks to Carnegie Deli on Seventh Avenue and makes a $24 down payment on a Reuben.
The Great Appomattox Switch
In this time-bending alternative history of the Civil War, bad GPS directions prevent Ulysses S. Grant from arriving on time to accept the surrender of Robert E. Lee. In Grant's place, President Lincoln sends a young ideas man, Newt Gingrich, who travels from the future on short notice. Gingrich demonstrates his patriotism when, in order to begin the healing process, he breaks a fundamental rule of time travel and presents Lee with a Land's End pullover fleece.
A Very Good Man
An ambitious ideas man struggles to find the most delicate way to tell his wife he wants a divorce. After much thought, he decides to do it at the hospital, where she is being treated for life-threatening cancer. Standing outside her hospital room, he thinks "I can't do this, this is crazy," and sits right down and writes a bestseller about the thrilling possibilities of space tourism.
The Man Upstairs
In this genre-defying book, which begins as a dystopian sci-fi thriller and ends as an Odd Couple-style buddy comedy, planet earth is invaded by liberal elitists trying to drive God out of American public life. Newt Gingrich, a fierce defender of religious freedom whose home also happens to have a spare bedroom, invites God to move in with him. But when God turns out to be a less-than-thoughtful houseguest -- throwing wild parties, taking really long showers and not even offering to chip in for utilities -- Gingrich's faith is tested as never before.
The Sigh of Relief
This political thriller centers on a charismatic president caught in a sensational sex scandal, and the Speaker of the House who tries to bring him down. The plot thickens when a plucky Washington reporter learns that the Speaker is carrying on a secret affair of his own. Sadly, however, the hypocrisy is never exposed; just as the reporter is about to file his story, the book turns into a time-bending alternative history novel and Ulysses S. Grant runs him over in a 2006 Nissan Altima.
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