AN AMERICAN MELODRAMA: The Presidential Campaign of 1968 by

AN AMERICAN MELODRAMA: The Presidential Campaign of 1968

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KIRKUS REVIEW

For those who can bear to face it again, here is a report on the 1968 Presidential campaign by three British journalists who covered it for the London Times. Beginning with the foreboding events of March 31-April 6, they plunge onward through the primaries to the conventions, paying rather less attention to the anti-climactic Nixon-Humphrey bout which followed. Using the mass-psychoanalytic approach developed by the better journalism since 1963, the authors probe the styles and personalities of the major figures, and interpret ""phenomena"" such as Daley, Abby Hoffman, and the Kennedy intellectuals. They comment on American violence, on the role of the media, and on the conflict between rhetoric and reality in American life. Their insights will not startle readers of liberal-left periodicals, but they write with wit and concision, and have some sharp moments, as in their dissection of Johnson's Vietnam advisers, or in their remarks on Mayor Daley's Newspeak version of the Chicago police frolic. Their acquaintance with American history and idiom is impressive. Some flaws: an attempt to say too much; and a paucity of straight political analysis (votegetting strategies, etc.) which renders the book less valuable as campaign history than the White studies on '60 and '64. Still, until the mists clear further (Mr. White's '68 book?), this will serve to keep alive the drama of a fantastic and frightening election year.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1969
Publisher: Viking