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In his first term, President Barack Obama played a cautious manager navigating the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression and cleaning up the messes left by President George W. Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My role models were childless: Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, George Eliot, the Brontes.
The creation of George Smiley, the retired spy recalled to hunt for just such a high-ranking mole in 'Tinker, Tailor,' was extremely personal. I borrowed elements of people I admired and invested them in this mythical character. I'm such a fluent, specious person now, but I was an extremely awkward fellow in those days.
We have two dogs, Mabel and Wolf, and three cats at home, Charlie, George and Chairman. We have two cats on our farm, Tom and Little Sister, two horses, and two mini horses, Hannah and Tricky. We also have two cows, Holy and Madonna. And those are only the animals we let sleep in our bed.
The first time I set out to find George F. Kennan, in 1982, I had just turned 21, begun my final semester at Princeton University and noticed with astonishment that the senior thesis deadline had crept to within four months.