BALLOTS AND BANDWAGONS by Ralph Martin

BALLOTS AND BANDWAGONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The gaudy flash and gusty racket of American national political conventions have always astonished foreigners, alternately fascinated or disgusted most of us, and driven journalists to their lexicons for grotesque adjectives in doomed attempts to do their subject justice. Plenty of this carnival- campmeeting atmosphere has found its may into Mr. Martin's volume, but his real intent here is to demonstrate ""the wheeling and the dealing... the men and maneuvres that create Presidents""; and as he says, ""this behind- the-scenes show is even more fascinating than the showcase"". He wanted to describe them all, and some day hopes to, in two or three more volumes, but had to content himself here with thorough investigations of five conventions, each chosen on the double basis of inherent drama and historical importance: the Republicans in 1900 (McKinley-Teddy Roosevelt), in 1912 (Taft, with TR bolting), and 1920 (Harding-Coolidge); and then the Democrats in 1932 (FDR, of course) and 1956 (Stevenson-Kefauver, with Kennedy narrowly losing out). Perhaps the best one can say, and it fully deserves the saying, is that Mr. Martin has set himself five hard-to-beat examples here, and should have an audience awaiting his definitive collection.

Publisher: Rand McNally