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House of Cards — the celebrated political drama and cultural lodestone — returns this weekend for its third season. The wildly popular show has its origins in a novel by Michael Dobbs, a former British politico who ascended from being an advisor to Margaret Thatcher to becoming the Conservative Party’s chief of staff. From Westminster to Washington, Dobbs’ depiction of democratic government as a pit of merciless, manipulative snakes has stood the test of time, sustaining two television adaptations, thousands of think pieces, and, no doubt, the private reveries of more pols than we care to admit.

You can purchase the book here.

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President Joe Biden at signing ceremony for Inflation Reduction Act at White House on August 16, 2022

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

To readers of a certain age who grew up watching cowboy movies on TV, that timeless phrase signals a major plot development. Maybe the scheming rancher with the mustache is ordering his henchmen to saddle up. Alternately, a hero in a white hat may be entering the fray.

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