Kiss and tell his book may be, still, people came and kissed.
About 300 of them showed up at a book party for Zbigniew Brzezinski, author of "Power and Principle," his memoirs from his days as national security adviser in the Carter administration.
Of course, not everyone came last night to the Organization of American States building. Not those who were thwacked by Brzezinski's book--a serious look at foreign policy that may be noted more for the jabs it takes at former colleagues.
"Let's put it this way," chuckled Jerrold Schecter, Brzezinski's spokesman during the Carter administration, "it's not an index party."
Not there from the index were, predictably enough: former secretaries of state Cyrus Vance and Edmund Muskie, and former vice president Walter Mondale.
Hoping to make it but didn't was former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. "His office called and said he was hopeful and he would try, but he didn't see how he could squeeze it in," said Brzezinski's secretary, Trudy Werner. Kissinger had apparently wanted to stop by between two engagements.
Robert Strauss, a former Mideast negotiator whom Brzezinski takes a shot at, didn't make it either, although he had indicated he would try. "He isn't going. Something has come up," said his office late yesterday. "He has some clients in from out of town."
But more important, there from the index were former White House press secretary Jody Powell, former Carter media adviser Gerald Rafshoon, much of Brzezinski's National Security Council staff and Richard Allen, former national security adviser to President Reagan.
"We exchanged books," said Allen, producing his copy of Brzezinski's book. "He wrote something very nice: 'For Dick Allen--A powerful fighter for the right cause. Zbig.' " Allen gave Brzezinski a copy of "Agenda '83," the most recent publication of the Heritage Foundation to which Allen contributed.
Why was he there? "I came to pay my respects to a predecessor and a friend," said Allen. "And writing a book is no mean feat." Allen hadn't read it, since he had just received it.
Also among the guests were former Carter congressional liaison Frank Moore, Sen. Charles Percy (R-Ill.), Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Enders, attorney Steve Martindale ("Zbig's a great buddy of mine") and Reagan counselor Edwin Meese.
"Zbigniew Brzezinski and I are friends and neighbors," said Meese. "He lives in a big house in McLean and I live in one of the small ones."
Brzezinski graciously greeted all. "You were the first people we met in Washington," he said to Gilbert Kinney, a Corcoran museum board member, and his wife Ann Kinney, a D.C. Convention Center board member.
"Thank you for sending us a book," said Ann Kinney. "We would have bought it."
"You can still do that," said Brzezinski with a grin.
Those who came were friends or colleagues or former colleagues who are still friends. Some said they had not read it, some said they had read it, some said they had only read the parts on themselves, so far.
But whether they'd read it or not, most had heard the advance reactions to it.
"I think without a question, everyone knew that Dr. Brzezinski was not going to write a bland book," said Susan Clough, former secretary to Jimmy Carter. "He's not a bland personality."
"Zbig seems to have written the book with almost a clear impression that he will not be returning to public office," said Alton Frye, Washington director of the Council on Foreign Relations, who said he read a small part of the manuscript but has not read the finished product yet. "I don't doubt it's an honest account of his impressions, and I expect that I'll disagree with some of his views."
"It's very interesting to see the reaction in Washington when you write an honest book," said Brzezinski. "People seem surprised."
"I think it's a damn good and interesting book," said Powell who praised the account of policy and decision-making Brzezinski recounts. "I generally tend to agree with Brzezinski on policy.
"As for personal relationships," Powell continued, "some who were close to him were not close to me and vice versa. When a friend and former colleague has a book party, you ought to come. So when you write a book, friends and colleagues will come."
Powell's book comes out in December or January, he said. "Mine's just on the press," he said, adding with a grin, "if you think Zbig is catching hell, wait until you see mine."
"I always wanted to know what was happening in the Carter administration," quipped Schecter.
This was no usual book party, which Brzezinski's publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, threw. There were no people crammed between bookshelves of the local book store, spilling wine on each other. Instead guests roamed through the lofty atrium of the Organization of American States, stopping at the full bar or a table arrayed with meats simmering on chafing dishes.
"Have they got books here?" asked Powell, looking around to find none for sale. "This is a pretty high-tone book party. When I have one, I intend to stand beside a stack of mine and look imploringly at people."