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Deadlines Past: Forty Years Of Presidential Campaigning: A Reporter's Story Hardcover – October 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; First Edition edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740738526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740738524
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,577,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mears, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter with Associated Press, the oldest and largest news service, here writes about his career spent witnessing and reporting on the political figures and policies that have shaped America in the past 40 years. Covering 11 presidential campaigns from 1960 until 2000, Mears also offers a personal account of his life as a wire reporter, before the advent of cell phones, when he called in breaking news from a pay phone in Boston informally reserved for bookies and joined comrades in keeping secret the foibles of candidates before the rules of disclosure changed. He recalls a "casual" conversation between John Kennedy and reporters covering his rival Richard Nixon, the swollen and sometimes bloody hands of candidates after a day of campaigning, the dirty tricks of President Nixon's reelection campaign, and the social turmoil surrounding campaigns in the 1960s. Mears also recollects his camaraderie with reporters, including Jack Germond and Jules Witcover. This is a fascinating look at political journalism, the fast-paced world of wire-service reporting, and changes in both in the last four decades. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Walter Mears was an Associated Press legend, a reporter who was able to observe, process, and write critical political coverage, as another writer put it, "faster than most people can think." He reported on national politics from 1960 to 2001 as one of the "boys on the bus" and was said to be the most influential political writer of his time because his AP stories appeared in virtually every American daily newspaper. He received the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1977 for his coverage of the 1976 presidential campaign and election. He retired after the 2001 presidential inauguration and now lives in Arlington, Va.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Walter Mears crafts a compelling look at presidential politics from Kennedy to George W. Bush. His story does not contain the level of ego found in other books, and his behind the scenes stories and insights, and the history of American presidential politics, are worth a read.
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Format: Hardcover
I recall reading and appreciating Theodore H. White's The Making of the President, 1960. Since then, I have read dozens of other books about that and subsequent campaigns as well as countless studies of those who have served as President. That said, I consider Mears's Deadlines Past among the most informative as well as most entertaining. In it, he examines his 40-year career as a reporter who rose within the ranks of the Associated Press organization, eventually serving as the AP's bureau chief in Washington. He retired after the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001. Of special significance to me is that he had a unique advantage over almost everyone else assigned to cover the White House and its most important occupant: Unlike counterparts from individual newspapers as well as radio and television networks, Mears represented a service organization which distributed reports to its subscribers throughout the world. As a result, the nature and extent of his access to the Oval Office were greater than almost any other journalist's. Here is a representative sample of what he observed and, more importantly, what he thought about a given politician, issue, or event.

"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.
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Format: Hardcover
Deadlines Past is a solid, occasionally insightful look at four decades of Presidential campaigns. But it left me wanting more.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book would best be enjoyed by people who enjoy history, politics and probably journalism.

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.
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