9780060390075 / 0060390077

America in Search of Itself: The Making of the President, 1956-1980


Publisher:Harper & Row



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About the book:

SYNOPSIS: All of us have lived through a time of collision in America: of upheavals shattering old ideas and dreams - transforming American politics in the process. In this, the last of his prize-winning series on American presidential politics, Theodore H. White tells us of the dramas that lie behind that transformation. He sets the stage by describing the forces that have changed American politics in the twenty-five years of his reporting. He tells how American goodwill created something called the Great Society . . . and pushed it over the cliff. He reveals how television took over American politics - and changed its nature; and he tells the terrifying story of the Great Inflation - and how it came to undermine all American life. And he details the equally disturbing story of how Americans have been ripped apart, divided and set against each other by the hopes that inspired men of goodwill to try to bring Americans together. The narrative of these twenty-five years climaxes in the campaign and election of 1980 and its two principal characters: Ronald Reagan, convinced that America had lost its way, charging Jimmy Carter with "confusing some of his own statements [as] having come from God"; Jimmy Carter, proud and melancholy, convinced that the crisis over which he presided was a crisis of the spirit. Here, in this retrospective that stretches from the politics of the "Old Country" to the present, are the others who starred - in large and small roles - in the great drama of The Making of the President, 1956-1980, and they include: Dwight D. Eisenhower at the high noon of his splendor, closing a campaign with the one major blunder of his career; Estes Kefauver, setting out to rescue the Democratic party from the bosses; Edward Kennedy, whose hopeless campaign in 1980 was doomed from the start, reaching his moment of glory in defeat; The professional manipulators who dominate political life today.

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