What are the best novels about politics?

Queried here, I will simplify and make it books, period, but restrict it to fiction, not counting philosophy.  My list of five:

1. Shakespeare’s Henriad, a no-brainer at #1, if you count it as more than one book it still should take up as many slots as it needs.  Psychology is primary and stands above politics, and libertinism is by no means unrelated to power.

2. Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, vanity, pride, and self-deception are the keys to understanding political behavior, plus Swift shows an understanding of "the rules of the game."

3. Montesquieu, Persian Letters, yikes, have you ever seen that Monty Python skit "Summarize Proust"?

4. Sophocles, Antigone, the claims of the family vs. the claims of the state continue to plague Iraq and many other places.

5. Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, the former is not just a good tale but also a profound comparative study of regimes, the latter is the brutal truths of war.

Interestingly none of these are proper novels.  I read Kafka’s The Trial as more about theology than worldly affairs.  As for politics as a profession, the source from The Economist recommends "Primary Colors", C.P. Snow’s "The Corridors of Power", and "All the King’s Men".

It is less fruitful and less fun to guess at the best novels about business and economics, perhaps because the relevant truths seem banal in a fictional context.


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