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.