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Deadlines Past: Forty Years Of Presidential Campaigning: A Reporter's Story Hardcover – October 1, 2003
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"Sometimes politicians do lie and misbehave, although probably no more often than people in business or lawyers or, for that matter, journalists. But most of the politicians I covered ran for office because they thoughts they could achieve change for the better, not purely for power and surely not for money, although wealth came to some of them because they held or had held office. That's not to say that they did not relish power.Read more ›
Being a young political activist and being fascinated by the current (2008) presidential primary, I wanted to explore past presidential races and contrast and compare...
I ended up finding this book at the library and thought 'what the heck'. I'm glad I gave it a chance because it ended up being just what I was looking for.
Walter Mears, a former AP newsman, wrote this book and it goes back forty years in history to the first presidential primary and general election he covered (Kennedy/Nixon) up until the 2000 election. It's clear the man knows what he's talking about. He gives all the interesting details one could want about the candidates and races and gives his observations (he had a front row seat at these races) but rarely (if ever) a partisan opinion. Being a strict partisan myself, I look for these things, but throughout the book, I just couldn't tell if he was for one candidate (or side) or another. It just doesn't enter into the equation. Which I appreciated.
Sometimes, at the end of one's successful career, when the author writes a book, it's to extoll how great they were/are. Mears spent 40+ years as an AP newsman but rarely talks about his professional or personal life in this book. The focus is on the elections and it rarely strays. In writing this book, Mears didn't seek to immoralize himself, he clearly wrote it to give a written account of history. And I'm glad he did. He paints such vivid portraits of the candidates (Nixon, Carter and Clinton stick out in my head especially) that I felt I gained a wealth of insight from reading it.
Since Mears was an AP reporter or columnist for most of his professional life, it's no wonder Deadlines Past reads more like a long news account than a novel. That is to say it's lacking much of the gossip or inside news that never made newsprint. In that regard, the book was a disappointment. I expected that someone with the access of an AP reporter would have more to share than what he already reported.
I also expected that Mears might pull back the curtain a little more on the how and why certain stories become "big" and others don't. While he talked a bit about it, it's almost as if Mears himself was an observer of the phenomenon instead of a player in it.
In spite of missing what the book could have been, it's still a fascinating historical record of presidential politics. Not many people alive can compare John Kennedy's campaign personality with Al Gore's. Or Dole with Goldwater. I'd be lying if I said I didn't learn things about the men and their campaigns.
If you're looking for scandal or an examination of the media itself, miss this deadline. Mears just doesn't deliver.
But if you're interested more in a complete, one stop shopping for what happened in the last half of the twentieth century's presidential campaigns, it hits that mark well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
walter Mears is the master of Presidential Politic from Kennedy to Gore singed Book By Walter mearsPublished 4 months ago by Michael Larthey
Many of the elections he covered, I remember. Some I was happy with the results, others not so much. Read morePublished 6 months ago by michael flanary
Great book. Engaged me from the first page. Highly recommend. Vender was excellent.Published 7 months ago by Teresa McInerney