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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Narrative History at its Most Vivid
One of my inspirations to become a historian stemmed from reading Theodore H. White's milestone Pulitzer Prize-winning narrative history of the exciting 1960 presidential race between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, "The Making of the President -- 1960." The big reason why I enjoyed and was so profoundly influenced by this milestone...
Published on December 18, 2001 by William Hare

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting view, primarily from the Kennedy side of campaign
Gave a great deal of insight into the Kennedy campaigns, but less useful comparison from Nixon side. Would have been more useful if were more equal, as was the campaign of the insider against the new face, but the writer was more involved with the Kennedy side. Nonetheless, gave some insight on both sides.

Not as sure as some historians are that it is going...
Published on May 16, 2007 by Cetera


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant Today, May 29, 2014
This review is from: The Making of the President 1960 (Harper Perennial Political Classics) (Paperback)
Although originally published in 1961, Theodore White's "The Making of the President 1960" is still relevant for today's readers. Even though White's account is a "real time" account of the 1960 presidential election, his analysis of the political issues and political personalities of the day make this still a fascinating read.

White's account is more than a chronological narrative of the events of the 1960 election, but also an analysis of the political issues of the day such as race, economics, national security, religion, etc. For instance, it is interesting to read White's account of how both political parties were facing the race issue of the day. The Democrats were having to decide whether to support racial equality and end segregation and gain northern blacks vote(a growing voter base in 1960) or lose the southern white vote. The Republicans were facing the same difficult question of whether to support northern blacks on racial issues or try to break the Democratic Party's hold on the south by standing against racial equality.

White also looks at the candidates in detail(Kennedy, Nixon, Humphrey, Rockefeller, etc.), White is often criticized by modern readers of being too "pro Kennedy" or even being "anti Nixon". But I feel this isn't fair to White, Kennedy allowed complete access for White, while Nixon didn't. Even so, White gave Nixon a fair shake in my opinion.

This book should be read by anyone interested in political science, post world war II history, or an interest in Kennedy and Nixon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative text, February 8, 2014
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This is an excellent book for anyone interested in American Presidential politics. It is a mine full of information. Enjoyed reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to get inside the 1960 Presidential election, January 20, 2014
By 
Patrick J. Hogan (North Greenbush,NY USA) - See all my reviews
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Theodore White does an INCREDIBLE job of giving you an inside look at the 1960 Presidential election. For a reader in the 21st century you can see how the road to the White House has evolved. White brings you behind the scenes information that historians & political junkies will enjoy. The campaign strategy that plays out is fascinating. The book is slanted more toward the Kennedy campaign, but I think that is in part because the brain trusts of the two campaigns each had their own agenda and Nixon's camp was much more guarded and did not allow access. While the Kennedy camp was more forthcoming. But I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it highly to anyone who has an interest in Presidential elections. You will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Political Science at its best., November 28, 2013
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I was a Junior in High School when Kennedy was killed. I saw him campaign for President and witnessed his speaking. Political Science fascinates me. So I thought it was a great read because I could relate, remembered many of the names in the book and looking back on 50 years of politics in America am fascinated by what it has become. Anyone who likes political campaigns will enjoy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars White's Bright Light On Tight Fight, May 5, 2011
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This review is from: The Making of the President 1960 (Harper Perennial Political Classics) (Paperback)
It was a time when power was overwhelming held by white men and cigarette smoking was more ubiquitous than ants at a picnic. It isn't an exaggeration to say the author redefined how campaigns are reported. The book clearly shows that much has not change in the dynamics of trying to keep their respective parties together in the pursuit of the White House. Nixon's internal battles with more liberal Nelson Rockefeller and Kennedy's aspirations haunted by Adlai Stevenson's reputation make for riveting reading. Mr. White also takes pains to describe the toll campaigning has on the candidates, the support staff and the press covering the whole dog-and-pony show. It was a time in which the television debates permanently altered political campaigning. Beyond the economy, the two largest issues were Kennedy's Catholicism and African-Americans' civil rights. Nixon's Southern strategy of using race and religion as possible wedge issues seems to have had its first glimmer of light during this run. Also, using the 1960's U.S. Census to explain the evolution of the American political landscape and the ever-shifting nature of power to different factions was extremely illuminating. Mr. White's writing is so good that even though the book was written over fifty years ago, I still felt as if I was at the actual events. You could do no better than this classic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Novel Approach to History Writing, October 21, 2014
By 
M. Buzalka (cleveland, oh usa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Making of the President 1960 (Harper Perennial Political Classics) (Paperback)
Theodore White inaugurated his "Making of the President" series with this account of the 1960 presidential election and arguably invented a new form of nonfiction political coverage by treating the election story in a novelistic way that emphasized personalities and a dramatic story arc. Nevertheless, I found the chapters dealing with the culture and demographics of America far more interesting than White's hagiographic treatment of John F. Kennedy's triumph over Richard Nixon.

Among the demographic trends White notes are the saturation of American households with TVs in the previous decade (from under 20% to over 80% between 1950 and 1960), the explosion of the suburbs at the expense of cities and small towns and the migration of blacks from the South to the big cities of the East and Midwest. White also frets about the large proportion of black babies being born to single mothers, which stood at a then-alarming 21%. I wonder what he would say now, when that number has almost quadrupled. I also thought it was interesting that in 1960 a huge number of American white women were getting married before they were out of their teens.

There is also a quaintness about the political world White describes, where presidential nominations were still mostly in the hands of party insiders in most states and primaries were unusual (Kennedy only had to run in seven, of which just two were contested). White's account of the general election campaign is colored by his fawning over Kennedy but it's still clear that Nixon suffered from some bad breaks. Perhaps the biggest was his banging his knee on a car door that led to an extended hospitalization that took him off the trail at a critical period and left him physically weak for a time afterwards. Even worse, he reinjured the knee shortly before the crucial first televised debate, which contributed to his looking like hell on screen.

Other wounds to the Nixon campaign were self-inflicted. There was the hare-brained trip to Alaska in the closing days to fulfill a stupid early promise to campaign in all 50 states, but even worse was a blown opportunity to appeal to black voters following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s arrest and conviction in Georgia that fall. While Kennedy was able to finesse the situation with a call to Coretta Scott King while not alienating the Southern white votes he needed, Nixon badly mishandled the situation by trying to play it both ways. This was especially outrageous since he was personally sympathetic to the push for civil rights for blacks (and had readily agreed with Nelson Rockefeller on platform language reflecting that) and he also represented an administration that had recently sent federal troops to the South to enforce school desegregation orders. In fact, four years earlier, Dwight D. Eisenhower had won almost 40% of black votes for the Republicans, a figure that seems unbelievable today when the GOP struggles to get 10%.

Figures such as Rockefeller, Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater, who would play major roles in the 1964 campaign, are minor figures here but the book was published early in the Kennedy Administration so White had no knowledge of everything that was going to happen. In that sense it's also a fascinating time capsule of perspectives at that time.

I wish this was more balanced account but is still a very readable and interesting chronicle of a landmark election.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of one of the most important elections of all time, September 20, 1998
By A Customer
Theodore White describes every moment of one of the most important elections of this century. He gives readers an inside look to behind the scenes politics. This book is essential reading for all political science students.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read., November 11, 2014
This review is from: The Making of the President 1960 (Harper Perennial Political Classics) (Paperback)
A fascinating read into the 1960 election; the styles of the 2 big rivals JFK and Richard Nixon, the strains and struggles and also of their tactics, and also a look at what America was like in 1960 with a much lower population than it is today in 2014. This is the 2009 edition with a new foreword or introduction. The 1964, 1968 and 1972 editions also republished since 2009. The covers with the Presidential blue, always on a sunny day, is very attractive. Never judge a book by its cover they say, but for this series written by Theodore H. White all those years ago, the covers are just right and gives class to his reporting and study of these major Presidential campaigns and elections in America. I enjoyed this 2009 edition and will buy the 1964 one soon and hopefully, the 1968 one after that. These are handsome and readable paperbacks on a era that is gone. They had no mobile phones, internet, emails etc., back then, but they were experts in communication with some great, political speeches to appeal to people and I think we have lost that in our times. Politicians today seem not as inspired by the history of their country or by former great leaders in the past. They are not as well-read on that as previous generations of politicians. I am not just referring to American politicians, but some in Western Europe too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging but dated now, September 2, 2014
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This was one of the first well written books by a reporter "embedded" with a presidential campaign. When it was written there was no internet or cell phone or social media. The author had unprecedented access to a presidential campaign and quite a bit of information from the other candidates.

So it is easy to see how this would have been a "blow the covers off" of political maneuvering and an excellent piece of expose writing. It certainly shows you exactly how politics worked in the 50's and 60's. The writing is supposed to build suspense and take twists and turns as candidates come into the race, fall out and make big wins and big loses.

But because we all know how it turned out, it reads as a bit dated for me now. It's best looked at as an mid-century history of a campaign. That's why it gets 4 stars instead of 5. It's just not quite relevant to politics today.

But it's still a 4 star read and as a daily deal it was worth the money. At full price, I'd get a copy at the library rather than spend the money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book by a great author, April 1, 2014
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This book takes you right there to the daily grind of the two campaigns - Kennedy's and Nixon's and paints an incredible portrait of both men and why one is loved and revered beyond the terms of his own reality, and why the other is appropriately vilified.
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The Making of the President 1960 (Harper Perennial Political Classics)
The Making of the President 1960 (Harper Perennial Political Classics) by Theodore H. White (Paperback - November 3, 2009)
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