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The Campaign Of The Century

Overview

---- Winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize.

In 1934, voters hoping to turn the tide of the Great Depression backed an unlikely candidate for governor of California: Upton Sinclair, muckraking author of "The Jungle" and lifelong socialist. Amazingly, Sinclair swept the Democratic primary, leading a mass movement called EPIC (End Poverty in California). More than a thousand EPIC chapters formed, much like Occupy Wall Street sites popped up in 2011.

Alarmed, Sinclair's opponents ...

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Overview

---- Winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize.

In 1934, voters hoping to turn the tide of the Great Depression backed an unlikely candidate for governor of California: Upton Sinclair, muckraking author of "The Jungle" and lifelong socialist. Amazingly, Sinclair swept the Democratic primary, leading a mass movement called EPIC (End Poverty in California). More than a thousand EPIC chapters formed, much like Occupy Wall Street sites popped up in 2011.

Alarmed, Sinclair's opponents launched an unprecedented public relations blitzkrieg to discredit him. The result was nothing less than a revolution in American politics, and with it, the era of the "spin doctor" was born. The iconic Hollywood producer Irving Thalberg created the first "attack ads" for the screen, the precursor of today's TV travesties. Hollywood took its first all-out plunge into politics and money started to play the tune in our political process.

In a riveting, blow-by-blow narrative featuring the likes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Louis B. Mayer, H. L. Mencken, William Randolph Hearst, Will Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, and a Who's Who of political, literary and entertainment stars, Greg Mitchell brings to life the outrageous campaign that forever transformed the electoral process.

A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, it served as the basis for one episode in the award-winning PBS documentary "The Great Depression"

"Sizzling, rambunctiously useful." -Los Angeles Times

"Fascinating....a lively, anecdote-filled history." -The New York Times Book Review

"To read The Campaign of the Century is to understand how the business of electing officials began to get so colossally out of hand." -Newsweek

"America witnessed a transforming experience, as Greg Mitchell makes clear in his vivid chronicle." -Wall Street Journal

"There are lessons to be learned herein. Politicians learned them long ago, to the general detriment. Perhaps now Mitchell can help the rest of us learn them." -Washington Post Book World

Now in trade paper, this "absorbing tale" (Newsweek) brings to life one of America's most influential and outrageous political contests--the 1934 bid for governor of California made by muckraking author and socialist Upton Sinclair. Photos. Index.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In 1934, novelist and erstwhile Socialist Sinclair won California's Democratic gubernatorial primary. Mitchell, author of Truth and Consequences ( LJ 12/1/81), records the ensuing campaign in daily cinematic bursts from August, when Sinclair was favored, to November, when a Republican nonentity aided by a cascade of unflattering publicity beat him. As in a newsreel, an array of characters march through the narrative, from Louis B. Mayer, who mobilized Hollywood money against Sinclair, to Franklin Roosevelt, who flirted with but never delivered official support. His quick-take technique prevents Mitchell from achieving coherence and proving his thesis, that ``Sinclair's opponents virtually invented the modern media campaign.'' Scholars will want stronger context and argument; general readers, intermittently entertained, will want stronger characterization and narrative; both will vote for a shorter, more disciplined book. Recommended for California libraries and media collections.-- Robert F. Nardini, North Chichester, N.H.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468075724
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/12/2011
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 469,815
  • Product dimensions: 6.69 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Mitchell is the author of more than a dozen books including "Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady," "So Wrong for So Long" (on the media and the Iraq war) and, with Robert Jay Lifton, "Hiroshima in America." He is the former editor of Editor & Publisher magazine and now writes a popular daily blog for The Nation. His recent e-books include "Atomic Cover-up," "The Age of WikiLeaks" and "Bradley Manning." He has written for dozens of leading publications.
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