A trio of new titles join the (still rather short) list this week, beginning with an economic primer of sorts from former President Bill Clinton, who confidently maps out the crucial role of government at a time when there seems to be much debate over just what that is. And this coming from a man who actually had a balanced budget — and a surplus, come to think of it — during his administration.

Joanne King Herring, the Texas socialite who made headlines thanks to her lavish lifestyle and the often un­or­tho­dox way she lived it, has a new memoir out this fall. She is perhaps best known as the financial backer of Congressman Charlie Wilson and his personal crusade on behalf of the mujahideen against the occupying Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1908s. And that’s one of her less flamboyant accomplishments.

And then there’s the new memoir from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, in which he goes into great detail about the merits of the case against him in an effort to rehabilitate his image. Washington’s culture of corruption, it seems, is the true villain — and though government is certainly plagued by such cronyism, one wonders whether this mea culpa is genuine, or simply because he got caught.


(Unofficial) Political Bestsellers — November 20, 2011

[click on author’s name to be routed to Book World’s review]

Former US President Bill Clinton waves to the audience upon his arrival at the New York Historical Society November 8, 2011 in New York. Clinton was interviewed by his daughter Chelsea Clinton about his latest book, Back to Work. (DON EMMERT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

(Knopf, $23.95)

By Bill Clinton

2. The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

(Penguin Press, $37.95)

By Daniel Yergin

3. No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington

(Crown, $35)

By Condoleeza Rice

4. Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

(Norton, $25.95). By Michael Lewis

5. Diplomacy and Diamonds: My Wars from the Ballroom to the Battlefield (Center Street, $24.99)

By Joanne King Herring with Nancy Dorman-Hickson

6. That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back

(FSG, $28). By Thomas L. Friedman & Michael Mandelbaum

7. Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist

(WND, $25.95). By Jack Abramoff

Drawn from Book World’s bestseller data supplied by Nielsen BookScan for the week ending November 13, 2011 (culled from the top 50 titles sold). The chart may not be reproduced without permission from Nielsen BookScan. Copyright © 2011