Somewhere on the net I read, immediately before the 2008 election, a short interview with one of Heller's daughters. The journalist had gone to her to ask about who Heller would have supported in the election, and what he would have thought of that most Catch 22-ish of presidencies just then coming to a close. The daughter had indicated that her father never voted, seeing voting as just a waste of time since, as Vidal famously discusses, there are no real differences between the two far right wing parties embraced by the American public. Anyone reading Picture This would have no need to ask those questions. Not so much a novel as a series of meditations on the similarities between Athens (the archetype of Democracy), the early modern Dutch Republic, and the present day US, all in the guise of a consideration of the philosophy of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and the art of Rembrandt, the nature of wealth and privilege and the concept of representative government, Picture This is deeply pessimistic, cynical, and prophetic. Heller in fact was able to accurately portray the Bush-Cheney junta with amazing accuracy, given that he was writing in the last days of the Reagan regime. Incredibly relevant in these turbulent times, as the reactionary part of the American republic strive mightily to turn the clock back to an imaginary Golden Age of Arayan Anglo-Saxon supremacy and American Empire where all the colored peoples are forced into compliance "for their own good", Picture This succeeds less as a novel than as a political tract, informing it's readers of the implications of past attempts to impose by force the ideals of the West upon neighbors and allies. A must read for the would be politically active.