In Jack Anderson's Papers, a Hidden History of Washington

A professor explores the archives of a newspaper columnist entwined with power

After gently digging through a few boxes, and finding only letters and old memoranda, Kevin Anderson settles on Box No. 83 and opens the lid. In a file called "Afghanistan Guerrillas," on the back of a sheet of paper that says "Season's Greetings 1984," he finds what he has been looking for: a sample of his father's enigmatic, idiosyncratic shorthand.

The writing is that of Jack Anderson, author, with