Summer Book Picks By Stephanopoulos, Russert, Candy Crowley

Several Washington members of the "mainstream" media elite gave the Washington Examiner their picks for what books they'll be reading this summer. ABC's George Stephanopoulos was the most ambitious with five books, but he put the liberal-tilting ones at the end: Michael Kazin's biography of William Jennings Bryan, and Karen Armstrong's The Great Transformation: The Beginnings Of Our Religious Traditions. Get a load of Karen Armstrong, and how much she sounds like a liberal's favorite:

This is not to say that all theology should be scrapped or that the conventional beliefs about God or the ultimate are 'wrong'...The test is simple: if people's beliefs -- secular or religious -- make them belligerent, intolerant, and unkind about other people's faith, they are not 'skillful.' If, however, their convictions impel them to act compassionately and to honor the stranger, then they are good, helpful, and sound. This is the test of true religiosity . . . . Instead of jettisoning religious doctrines, we should look for their spiritual kernel.

George isn't the only Washington liberal who's cuckoo for Karen puffs. The former Clinton aide began with his fiction picks to click: Everyman by Philip Roth (described by a critic as a "clinically secular morality tale"), Terrorist by John Updike, and Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.

CNN reporter Candy Crowley also picked the Philip Roth novel, The Historian by novelist Elizabeth Kostova, Gettysburg by Stephen Sears, and The Great Influenza by John Barry, because "after I interviewed HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt about bird flu several months ago, he gave me a copy and said 'Read it.'"

NBC's Tim Russert listed just Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson, which also topped the list of....former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese.

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