"The Lion's Den is essential reading for anyone whose confidence in American democracy has been shaken by recent events. There is plenty to discourage and alarm us these days; the supply of negative political role models, real and fictional, seems endless. Frank Atkinson leaves no doubt that we can do better and be better. Just in time, it seems, he arrives with some exemplary political characters, a powerfully uplifting story, and a summons to get to work restoring the ethic of principled citizenship and service that reflects the 'better angels of our nature' and offers hope for bringing Americans together again." - LARRY J. SABATO, Director, UVA Center for Politics
The Lion's Den offers a prescription for American renewal at a time of eroding confidence in our political institutions and growing confusion about our national purpose.
In Frank Atkinson's formulation, there are no quick fixes for our broken politics ... no easy cure for what ails our democracy. A republic's community spirit and capacity for constructive self-governance depend on a consensus about essential values and the active choice to practice, promote, and perpetuate those values. The ethic of principled citizenship and service that Atkinson considers indispensable for American renewal is not an inherited trait - like every ethic, it is a character requiring cultivation. And it is strongest when grounded in personal faith and integrity ... illuminated by hard-learned lessons from history and experience ... inspired by worthy human exemplars ... propelled by the optimistic pursuit of a "more perfect union" ... and kindled in a culture of mutual respect and forbearance guided by the "Golden Rule."
No starry-eyed idealist, Frank Atkinson's major nonfiction works - The Dynamic Dominion and Virginia in the Vanguard - turned a candid lens on the hard-fought modern politics of his native state. In The Lion's Den, he offers a compelling fictional account of life in the political arena - at once a venue for selfless contribution and palace of selfish ambition. Inspired by timeless lessons from the Book of Daniel, Madison's vision of competition and compromise, and the colorful politics of his contemporary Commonwealth, Atkinson places his characters in a modern-day lion's den where they grapple with vexing moral and practical choices. But Atkinson's players find the grace to come together ... and, he suggests, so can we.
Frank B. Atkinson has participated in and written about government and politics for four decades. His major works, The Dynamic Dominion and Virginia in the Vanguard, are highly regarded political histories used as university-level texts. A lawyer and consultant, he is a partner in McGuireWoods LLP and senior advisor in McGuireWoods Consulting. His civic service includes two stints in the Department of Justice under President Reagan, service as cabinet-level counsel and policy director for Virginia Governor George Allen, chairmanship of the federal Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission, and service on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees, and other government commissions and nonprofit boards. He and his wife Diane are covenant partners of Third (Presbyterian) Church in Richmond, Virginia.