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Looking Forward to It: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process Paperback – September 23, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0312424152 ISBN-10: 0312424159 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (September 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312424159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312424152
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,724,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Republican Right is in control, U.S. troops are fighting in a quagmire overseas, the presidential race is on, and recreational drugs are involved. The year, though, is not 1972 but 2004. And our Gonzo correspondent is not Hunter S. Thompson, but novelist Elliott, who appears to be more broke, more disenfranchised, more self-doubting, and probably less talented than his iconic predecessor. With paper-thin credentials from the Believer magazine, Elliott starts his coverage in Iowa in July 2003. From there he follows the Democratic candidates through, mostly, the swing states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and points beyond, taking his narrative all the way through John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. This is a book for political junkies, who will have to get through the author's distractions--loneliness, women problems, a troubled childhood. But Elliott gives us a fresh, ground-level read on the candidates, the media coverage, and the election process itself. Admirably, Elliott--as alienated from the process as he might seem--gets what's at stake here when he says simply, "People have a responsibility to pay attention." Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Stephen Elliott is one of the most versatile and gifted young writers we have. His fiction is wrenching, raw, and unsafe. His political writing, on the other hand, is savvy, loose, very funny and -- truly -- full of rare insights. Also: he is quite hairy."
- Dave Eggers

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By me on September 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Stephen Elliot's book is far and away the funniest and most insightful political punditry from the 2004 election. From the rise and fall of Howard Dean to the Republican convention in New York, Elliot doggedly pursues value in stories most reporters don't even recognize. As he crosses the lower 48 by bus, plane and thumb, we are introduced to some of the wisest, most astute political analysts grassroots America has yet uncovered.

I loved this book for the sound byte it isn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. DAVIDSON on December 31, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Stephen Elliott's fiction; HAPPY BABY was one of the best novels of 2004. So I was excited to read this and I wasn't disappointed. It's a superb and hilarious account of Elliott's year on the campaign trail, and you don't have to be a politics junkie (I'm certainly not) to find it absolutely charming as well as remarkably insightful and smart about various aspects of American political culture. It's a classic!
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Benson on November 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a rare treat, a double-secret insider crawl through the wasteland of the presidential election season. Elliott shows us stuff no one else does, from up-close views of the most accomplished paid spokesliars, to the real reasons Kerry won the nomination. Along the way, he steers us, careening, through alternate realities, dozens of funny Eggers-style footnotes, drugs, and compulsive gambling.

I'm not on the same end of the political spectrum as Elliott, but I still enjoyed this book's insights. What I didn't enjoy was the sloppy editing, no doubt resulting from Picador rushing the book out the door in two and a half months. (See misspellings of "Mineta", "signal corps", even the arcade game Pole Position, thought the last is at least understandable.)

Elliott has some great analysis of the PA senatorial race, the youth vote, and more, but shows a strangely innocent naivete on occasion. A few cases in point: 1) He repeatedly calls Bush a liar, without ever specifically naming the lie. Perhaps he means the lack of Iraqi WMDs? But every intelligence agency in the world unanimously believed Iraq had WMDs, meaning Bush was mistaken, not intentionally lying. Sloppy. 2) He shows a fundamental ignorance of how the free market works by not understanding why rents go down when property taxes are cut. 3) He incorrectly states that the NORC analysis showed Gore should have won Florida if all votes were counted, under any standard. Actually, Bush would have won under certain standards where all 3 ballot viewers had to agree on voter intent. At least he correctly lets the Supreme Court off the hook, something many Democrats will never do.
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