What the Dickens! RNC Chair Steele Quotes 'A Tale of Two Cities' to Show 'War and Peace' is His Favorite Book

January 4, 2011 - 3:03 PM

(CNSNews.com) – In a debate with candidates for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC), current Chairman Michael Steele said his favorite book was War and Peace, adding, “It’s the best of times and the worst of times.” However, the latter phrase is a slight variation of the opening sentence from Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities, and War and Peace was written by Leo Tolstoy.

During the debate at the National Press Club on Monday, Steele and the other four candidates vying for the chairmanship were asked what was their favorite book. Former GOP Chairman Reince Priebus said, “The Reagan Diaries,” and former Missouri GOP Chairman Ann Wagner said, “I like George W. Bush’s new book, how about that?” Former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis said, “The Law,” written by Frederich Bastiat and former RNC Deputy Chairman Maria Cino said, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

In his response, Steele said, “War and Peace,” adding, “It’s the best of times and the worst of times.”

In Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, the first sentence of the story reads, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness ….” The Dickens line is one of the most famous sentences in the history of English literature.

War and Peace, published in 1869, was written by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy. The first sentence of the fiction work is from a letter by one of the characters that reads, “Well, prince, Genoa and Lucca are now nothing more than the apanages, than the private property of the Bonaparte family.”

Michael Steele

<i>RNC Chairman Michael Steele. (AP File Photo/Ron Edmonds)</i>

Tolstoy (1828-1910) is one of Russia’s most famous novelists. Some of his other books include Anna Karenina and The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer, known for his Victorian novels. Some of his most popular works, in addition to A Tale of Two Cities, include Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers, and A Christmas Carol.