Greg Palast’s The Joker’s Wild is a card game with an agenda — like the infamous U.S. Military deck of most wanted Iraqis, by which it was inspired. Featuring a rogues’ gallery of politicians, insiders and power brokers (the Bushes, the bin Ladens, Jim Baker, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pat Robertson, Ken Lay), it comes packaged as a set of oversize playing cards, each of which portrays a particular public figure or scandal, all featuring quotes and pithy bites of information, marked by a savage sense of irony. Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization, and High-Finance Fraudsters, is an equal-opportunity muckraker; his targets include Bill Clinton, whom he chides for, among other things, signing an “end to food-stamp entitlement for poor children.” His favorite antagonist, however, is President Dubya, characterized here as the Joker, and drawn in a court jester’s cap. It’s a funny idea, but before you laugh, remember what’s at stake. Or, as Palast wonders: “What’s so funny? The joke’s on you.”

THE JOKER’S WILD: Dubya’s Trick Deck
| By GREG PALAST; Illustrated by ROBERT GROSSMAN | Seven Stories | $9 boxed

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