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Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History
     

Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History

5.0 1
by John Dickerson
 

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Face the Nation moderator and Slate columnist John Dickerson come the stories behind the stories of the most memorable moments in American presidential campaign history.

The stakes are high. The characters full of striving and ego. Presidential campaigns are a contest for control of power

Overview


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Face the Nation moderator and Slate columnist John Dickerson come the stories behind the stories of the most memorable moments in American presidential campaign history.

The stakes are high. The characters full of striving and ego. Presidential campaigns are a contest for control of power in the most powerful country on earth. The battle of ideas has a clear end, with winners and losers, and along the way there are sharp turning points-primaries, debates, conventions, and scandals that squeeze candidates into emergency action, frantic grasping, and heroic gambles. As Mike Murphy the political strategist put it, "Campaigns are like war without bullets."

WHISTLESTOP tells the human story of nervous gambits hatched in first-floor hotel rooms, failures of will before the microphone, and the cross-country crack-ups of long-planned stratagems. At the bar at the end of a campaign day, these are the stories reporters rehash for themselves and embellish for newcomers. In addition to the familiar tales, WHISTLESTOP also remembers the forgotten stories about the bruising and reckless campaigns of the nineteenth century when the combatants believed the consequences included the fate of the republic itself. Some of the most modern-feeling elements of the American presidential campaign were born before the roads were paved and electric lights lit the convention halls-or there were convention halls at all.

WHISTLESTOP is a ride through the American campaign history with one of its most enthusiastic conductors guiding you through the landmarks along the way.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Molly Ball
…while these stories may have hardened into lore, they are enlivened here by Dickerson's range of reference and eye for texture. Whistlestop unfolds as a series of good yarns, told in plain language with wisecracking asides here and there. These incidents may not be among democracy's finest hours, but they are the most fun…Dickerson knows what he is doing: Whistlestop, he writes at one point, is a book "to luxuriate in on the couch while you watch the sun move across the living room." This is precisely the lyrical, laid-back rhythm the book achieves. It should be kept on the night stand and dipped into when you crave a good tale. Like Dickerson as an interviewer, it has sturdy charm; it is inquisitive, generous, probing and thoughtful. You read Whistlestop to put the chaos of today's campaign into perspective—or, perhaps, to escape from it.
From the Publisher
"As much as we arrogantly think our present political moment is new, it is not. Now, along comes this wonderful book to set us straight. It connects and interconnects signal campaigns from our 'glorious' past, where the same sausage making we decry today is on vivid, sometimes impressive, sometimes hilarious, display. Dickerson's artful time travel, so accessible but so eloquently written, will be red meat for anyone who counts themselves a politics carnivore-or anyone who cares about the fascinating mechanics of getting elected in the United States."—Ken Burns

"Filled with colorful characters and rollicking tales, this chronicle of exciting presidential campaigns is fun, informative, and enlightening. John Dickerson has a storyteller's touch and a historian's insight. It's nice to be reminded of the beauty and glory of American democracy at its best."—Walter Isaacson

"With a delightful conversational style featuring casual asides and plenty of incisive commentary, Dickerson's many years of experience covering politics informs his intriguing inside looks at how certain stories begin and how they grow... A politically astute, timely book that will also have great historical value for future campaigns."—Kirkus Review

"Whistlestop is entertaining and informative, but it also is a timely reminder for those tempted right now to believe that, with the growing divisions in this country, all is lost. No matter how big the storm that throws us off course, we have a history of righting the ship and steering into calmer waters."—Connie Schultz, The Washington Post

"Dickerson's work 'connects and interconnects signal campaigns from our 'glorious' past, where the same sausage making we decry today is on vivid, sometimes impressive, sometimes hilarious, display.'"—Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press

"A gifted chronicler, Dickerson looks back over two centuries of election campaigns and zeros in on flashpoint episodes that somehow reset the collective national narrative."—The National Book Review

"Whistlestop, [a] breezy but substantive account of key presidential campaign moments."—Christian Science Monitor

"Dickerson knows what he is doing...[This book] should be kept on the night stand and dipped into when you crave a good tale. Like Dickerson as an interviewer, it has sturdy charm; it is inquisitive, generous, probing, and thoughtful. You read Whistlestop to put the chaos of today into perspective - or, perhaps, to escape from it."—NYT Book Review

"These stories illustrate that although this election is unusual, it's not unprecedented...Dickerson's book is an edifying reminder that human beings don't change. Politicians and voters alike often forget the past, and end up repeating the same mistakes."—The Federalist

Library Journal
★ 09/01/2016
Dickerson's timely compilation of stories from 18 presidential campaigns are rousing moments in campaign history yet also present some enduring truths about ambition, image, emotion, power, national direction, party identity, elite power brokers, and disaffected voters. Dickerson (moderator of TV's Face the Nation, columnist for online magazine Slate) witnessed a few events as a campaign reporter. Some were shared by other journalists and campaign workers—possibly, he claims, embellished in the retelling. Others are historical. The accounts demonstrate the evolution of standards and expectations for presidential campaigns, ranging from when Thomas Jefferson paid an unscrupulous journalist to defame his opponents in 1800 (and who later revealed Jefferson's scandalous liaison with Sally Hemings) to Harry Truman's 1952 precedent-setting whistlestop campaign to convince common voters that he was no different from them, to the nontraditional 2004 popular movement that created Howard Dean's campaign. Dickerson covers bribery, scandals, spin, theatrics, sabotage, and other ugly aspects of American king-making and weaves throughout the theme of voters' efforts to have some say over the uncompromising political system. VERDICT Political junkies and all readers will be enlightened by Dickerson's well-documented, engaging, and at times whimsical text. The connections between past campaigns and the wild 2016 season might offer readers promise for the future.—Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455540488
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
08/02/2016
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
14,578
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.50(d)

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Meet the Author

John Dickerson is Moderator of Face the Nation and Political Director of CBS News and a columnist for Slate magazine. Dickerson has been a reporter in Washington for almost 20 years covering the White House, Congress and political campaigns. Dickerson is a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest as well as the host of "Whistlestop," a podcast of campaign history.

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Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
saran_123 More than 1 year ago
Nice..