Next book

THE CONTEST

THE 1968 ELECTION AND THE WAR FOR AMERICA'S SOUL

Readers seeking an entertaining and informative study of the 1968 campaign would do well to start here.

A thorough examination of one of the most divisive political campaigns in American history.

In an April 2018 Wall Street Journal article, Pat Buchanan, looking back on his time as an aide to Richard Nixon, wrote that 1968 was “America’s most divisive year since the Civil War had begun.” In his latest book, Schumacher (Dharma Lion: A Biography of Allen Ginsberg, 2016, etc.) depicts that year’s tumultuous presidential campaign as “the culmination of a mighty struggle lasting for at least a decade, beginning with the early civil rights movement and continuing through the Vietnam protests.” The author begins with background information on each of the major players in the campaign: the anti–Vietnam War contender (Eugene McCarthy), the doomed advocate for civil rights (Robert F. Kennedy), the vice president caught between the liberal wing of his party and the administration he loyally served (Hubert H. Humphrey), the wily segregationist with a dying spouse (George Wallace), and the “loser” who successfully rehabilitated his image (Nixon). The yearslong struggle intensified during the campaign, climaxing with the shocking violence in the streets of Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. Ultimately, the violence helped catapult the “law and order” Nixon to victory. Schumacher intersperses this narrative with many intriguing anecdotes, including hapless Republican candidate George Romney’s needing 34 tries to pick up a spare in a New Hampshire bowling alley, a cash-strapped McCarthy campaign selling the lunch leftovers of actor and supporter Paul Newman, and Wallace’s consideration of “Colonel” Harland Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame) as his running mate. Overall, the book runs a little long, and some of the candidates—Humphrey and Kennedy in particular—do not come across as well as the author intends. Schumacher also might have provided more context, including Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 nomination of the controversial Abe Fortas as chief justice of the United States.

Readers seeking an entertaining and informative study of the 1968 campaign would do well to start here.

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8166-9289-7

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Univ. of Minnesota

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist


  • National Book Award Winner

Next book

BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 21


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist


  • National Book Award Winner

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Close Quickview