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Boys on the Bus Mass Market Paperback – July 12, 1986

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, July 12, 1986
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Political spin-doctoring has become something of an art form in the last few decades. It was less artful in the early years of the information age, and Crouse's entertaining look at the attempts of both the Nixon and McGovern '72 campaign staffs to control the media seems almost comical, so poor were they at the image-and-sound bite manipulation that now defines our politics. Crouse is a serious-minded journalist, however, and his firsthand report on how political news is made and shaped remains important reading. Check out Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 for a more madcap view of the same matters.

Review

“All the secrets . . . the definitive story.”
—The Washington Post

“Provokes, perplexes, illuminates and amuses.”
—Newsweek


“An extremely insightful and provocative book.”
—New York

“Crouse takes a big bite out of the hand that
feeds news to America——a mean, funny,
absolutely honest book!”
—Hunter S. Thompson

“Marvelously entertaining . . . There is no better way to
find out just how the news . . . reaches us.”
—The Boston Globe
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345340159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345340153
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is an account of the 1972 presidential campaign. Crouse's account set the standard for books about presidential campaigns; a standard that has not yet been beaten.
The 1972 campaign involved the first real attempt by campaigns to spin-doctor the press and American people during a campaign. Previously, we left that to the already elected.
The 1972 campaign also marked the first real attempt by networks to create stars out of reporters. This network tactic has continued unabated until the present. In fact, recent studies have reported that reporters now receive much more air time than the actual candidates.
Crouse's book is essential reading for political junkies as well as history buffs. The 1972 election was truly a watershed event which continued through the Watergate era.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Crouse's groundbreaking book on the 1972 Presidential campaign was reveolutionary in the way it covered the reporters who covered the election. This was the first step in to turning these reporters into "stars" in their own right. Who can doubt today that the visibility one gets from being a reporter on a successful Presidential campaign can transform you into a highly paid and visible "talking head." Crouse's book is well written, informative and quite amusing, which is appropriate since he spent the campaign hanging out with the immortal Hunter S. Thompson. A must for political junkies.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This brilliantly conceived and executed book pulled back the curtain on the culture of covering presidential campaigns much like Theodore White's The Making of the President before it. Smooth and seemless prose is marred only slightly by the contrived tactic of attempting one line physical descriptions of principals "a bull of a man," "a lovely and smart woman," etc.

Structurally, the book proceeds from the failed Muskie campaign and an introduction of some of the icons of the industry at the time (two, David Broder and Robert Novak, must be packed in ice every night and only thawed out to give television appearences, such is their longevity) to Nixon's campaign, the not yet completed Watergate investigation of Woodward and Bernstein, and then finally the doomed McGovern campaign once again. The technique is man on the scene, interspersed with set interviews in which the interviewer is an actor.

Crouse's classic is entertaining and informative. It is entertaining because of the colorful portraits of a gang of mostly fun loving guys and a few jerks, and informative because it shows that the true bias of the press is an establishment bias, much more complicated than a simple left-right dichotomy, it's the institutional pressures of the job that leads to the press's often distorted views. Yes, the reporters trend liberal, but the editors and publishers trend conservative, and in recent years the line has blurred between the interests of the publishers and their employees. These guys are not scrappily taking in about the same salary as a bus driver or construction worker anymore, their vibe is much more movie star. Yet now as then, the real distortion is the pack mentality and fear of being the outlier in coverage, suspect by editors with no other framework for evaluation.
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Format: Paperback
Timothy Crouse was one of the first to report on the pack journalism covering a Presidential campaign. Readers ride along on crowded busses during the 1972 campaign, witnessing press personalities like Hunter S. Thompson, R. W. Apple, Ted White, etc., and noting their strengths and inefficiencies. The book is partly about politics, but more about the life of pack jounralism. The book begins in the snows of New Hampshire as early-favorite Ed Muskie fades and George McGovern surges to the Democratic nomination. Later, comes the non-campaign when President Nixon sidestepped the press (and any discussion of issues) thus letting the media's scrutiny fall heavily on the more accessible but flawed-and-doomed McGovern effort. We see that while many reporters indeed lean to the left, their editors and managers usually lean rightward, and charges of liberal bias are usually doubtful. Crouse only partly comprehends how campaigns manipulate the media - something done with far more sophistication by today's politicos. Still, this is a gripping, readable book, one that takes an interesting look at press coverage and Presidential politics.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a political history freak, I just ate this book in big gulps! "The Boys on the Bus" throws a different light on the system used in the U.S. to choose presidential candidates by concentrating on the reporters themselves. I learned a tremendous amount by being introduced to the reporters and the description of the method each utilized in reporting the "primary race" to the White House.
The 1968 presidential election was quite important to me as a 28-year-old mother of 2 small boys, as I had been active in the civil rights movement, as well as the antiwar movement, since '62 or '63. This book gave me a longing look back to my youth, helping me relive those awful and awe-full days. I worked the Kennedy primary campaign when I could but, thankfully, missed the California race.
One of my "required" activities when reading any non-fiction work is to carefully read the bibliography to add any book mentioned that I may consider adding to my library. In this case, I re-discovered Jules Witcover, whom I had read assiduously in the newspapers and magazines 'back in the day'. I am now reading the second of his books that had been quoted in "The Boys on the Bus.. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested at any level in the history of the American political system in the second half of the 20th century.
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