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The Making of the President, 1960 Unknown Binding – 1962


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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Cape (1962)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OBVZV2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Campaigning and election "cycles" now seem to be eternal. And since (most) people only vote once in these cycles, I've noticed a strong tendency in all the hoopla, and endless emails that I receive: no one is actually asking for my vote, or how I might be able to influence just one more person to vote for them; instead, it is this endless drumbeat of "send me money." And all the people asking already have far more money than I. Millionaire beggars. So, I wanted to reflect: Has it always been this way? And I decided to re-read this classic account of the 1960 election, a book I first read almost 50 years ago. (Note: I've also read his accounts of the '64, '68 and '72 elections, but I had remembered this one as being his best.)

The election ended up being extremely close. As White concludes his account, he notes that if only 4,500 voters in Illinois, and 28,000 voters in Texas had changed their minds, Richard Nixon would have been President in 1960. On the re-read, I felt that White, simply as a political analyst, who can explain to the reader the complex political forces that are operative, is brilliant. Nothing is diminished after 50 years, though the English language has changed a bit, with different connotations today for "gay" and "girl."

White starts his account at the Kennedy "compound" of houses at Hyannisport, MA. awaiting the electoral results. White deftly draws succinctly portraits of the character of the principals involved in the campaign, certainly one of White's strengths throughout the book. Then he goes back in time, starting in '56, when Kennedy essentially made the decision to run in '60, and to marshal a team of "the best and the brightest" to achieve victory. The author has alternating chapters on the Kennedy and Nixon campaigns.
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By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
"The Making of the President 1960" is initial volume in Theodore H. White's classic series of histories of presidential campaigns. Everything makes this book a classic, the personalities, the issues, the campaign and the artful writing of a superb journalist. Whether you are looking for history, a stroll down memory lane or just entertaining reading, this book is the place to look.

As readers of my Amazon reviews know, I have read extensively in history. I also have childhood memories of seeing John F. Kennedy in a motorcade down State Street in East St. Louis in October 1960. Even with that background I learned much about this campaign from this tome.

White begins the narrative on election night in the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport with a reflection on the path that brought the candidate and his team to that night and their rendezvous with history. The reader is made privy to the family exchanges as the nation made its decision and the precinct by precinct analysis as the returns poured in. With victory secured and claimed, White then takes us back to the beginning.

This book lays out the contenders: Hubert Humphrey, his record too liberal and his base too limited to win, but a useful stalking horse for those counting on a deadlock; Lyndon Johnson, Senate majority leader and Stuart Symington, a respected senator, both of whom distained the primary route; Adlai Stevenson, who made men proud to be Democrats and, because of that, may have deserved a chance to run against someone other than the General; and John F. Kennedy, who, after failing to secure the 1956 vice-presidential nomination, was determined not to fail again.

Each candidate had his own path to the White House. Humphrey had to win primaries to establish himself as the people's choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grahameducato on 27 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to study this as part of a politics course at University in 1967. Study it I did. But what I never realised then was what a superb, well written book it is. Back then it was a ground breaking book, the first of its kind. Its the inside story of Kennedy's election in 1960, a fly-on-the-wall insight into how the American electoral system works on the ground. Absorbing and very readable, un-put-downable, like a good novel.
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By A Customer on 24 Aug. 1998
Format: Hardcover
White writes like a poet, with sweeping strokes of the pen for his broad subjects, and with a magnifying glass for the smallest details. This book has been used in other campaigns as a how-to text for winning.
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By fiscalstudent on 20 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone interested In politics has got to read this book. describes the race in amazing detail. But what really stands out is the sheer quality of the writing, easily stands the test if time.
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