A genial, gossipy history of sixteen men--latter-day American kingmakers and the men they put up as successful candidates. The most familiar pairs are Mark Hanna-William McKinley, Louis Howe-FDR, and Joe Kennedy-JFK. Also surveyed are New York State GOP boss Thomas C. Platt, who kicked Teddy Roosevelt upstairs into the Vice Presidency; George Harvey, editor and Wall Street spokesman, who discovered Woodrow Wilson; Boston businessman Frank Stearns, who promoted fellow Amherst man Coolidge; and Ohio boss Harry Daugherty, the force behind Harding. Drawing mostly on memoirs and secondary sources in a casual, witty, ""popular history"" style, the book provides no special revelations and little access to policy questions; but a map emerges of the pre-1930s GOP in particular. Russell also underlines the advent of the sales approach to candidates which Hanna, Harvey, and Kennedy combined so advantageously with old-fashioned wirepulling. The fate of the Macher was generally to fade away after the elections, Louis Howe not excepted; although only Teddy Roosevelt was a self-starter, new influences upon presidents came into play. A novel, distinctly readable approach to some much-worked material.