THE MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT--1968 by Theodore H White


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The agony, ecstasy, and boredom of the late election campaign are here recreated by the author who recorded, with immense success, the Making of the President in 1960 and 1964. Against a background of agitating issues (Vietnam, race, student unrest) the account hops from camp to camp, charting the primary and electoral contests with thoroughness and with particular attention to personalities and ""insider's"" stories--which the author, always close to the sources, obtained in plenty. (Particularly noteworthy: fresh glimpses of backstage maneuverings behind the bombing-halt decision; an electromediagram on the blowup of Romney's ""brainwashing"" statement; a note on the attempts by Nixon backers to torpedo public faith in the Paris peace talks.) In between these achievements, however, there is a good deal of slushy writing. Save for Wallace and LBJ (who gets a rather spiteful raking-over for egotism and crudity), White likes everybody in the race. Floral tributes bombard McCarthy, Romney, Kennedy, and especially, Nixon, whose Rocky road to political and financial recovery is chronicled with banal sentimentality. The narrative is also sodden with unimpressive philosophizing on our current dilemmas, on which White discourses with a mixture of pro-Establishment bias (racial rioters are ""barbarians""; university rebels ""brutal"") and wistful cliche (we are suffering from ""too-rapid change"" and we need a ""common dream""). Unlike another recent campaign report (An American Melodrama, p. 415) this one never questions the legitimacy of the choice offered the public, though many voters did. Still due to its comprehensive research, the author's reputation, Life magazine appearance and Literary Guild selection, it will undeniably be a shoo-in at the reader's polls.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1969
ISBN: 0061900648
Publisher: Atheneum