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Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976 Hardcover – January 1, 1980


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Hardcover, January 1, 1980
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Outlet (January 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517293161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517293164
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,097,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jules Witcover is one of the most distinguished and recognized of the veteran Washington correspondents. A former political columnist for the Baltimore Sun, he is the author of numerous books, including 85 Days: The Last Campaign of Robert Kennedy, Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, The Party of the People: A History of the Democrats, and The Year the Dream Died: Revisiting 1968 in America.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Ellis on October 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Though it is often overshadowed by the author's own later collaborations with Jack Germond (as well as the then-contemporary efforts of Hunter Thompson), Jules Witcover's Marathon is one of the unheralded classic works of the political nonfiction genre. Covering the twists and turns of the rather bizarre 1976 Presidential election, Witcover follows the campaign from the very first stirrings of Jimmy Carter's longshot candidacy at the '72 Democratic Convention all the way to the photo finish that finds the nation faced with a choice worthy of Samuel Beckett -- Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Lester Maddox, or Eugene McCarthy? In between, Witcover provides excellent, insightful coverage of the now-forgotten efforts of such diverse men as the tragically witty Mo Udall, the endearingly spacey Jerry Brown, the bizarrely sympathetic George Wallace, and the deliberately enigmatic Ronald Reagan to take their respective nominations away from these men and change the course of American history. If you ever wondered how America eventually produced a political system that could see everyone from Pennsylvania's hapless Gov. Milton Shapp to Oklahoma's radical former Sen. Fred Harris transformed, however briefly, into a legitimate presidential contender, this is the book for you. Years after it was written and, unfairly, neglected, Marathon stands as one of the best books ever written on the subject of how we occasionally stumble into selecting our nation's leader.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Jules Witcover has written several excellent books on American politics over the last 35 years. Among them are a moving account of Bobby Kennedy's doomed 1968 presidential bid and a critical look at Reagan's election to the Presidency in 1980. In "Marathon" Witcover attempts to pull a Teddy White and write the definitive account of the 1976 presidential campaign. White became famous in 1961 with the publication of "The Making of the President 1960", his bestselling account of the legendary Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign. White had the advantage of being the first journalist to write an entire book about how we elect (or elected) Presidents in this country so soon after the election he covered. White then wrote an entire series of "Making of the President" books, covering the campaigns of 1964, 1968, and 1972. By 1976 White was tired of writing about campaigns that he felt made less and less sense and which seemed to be dominated more by primaries and photo ops than by the old-fashioned back-room dealing and campaign barnstorming that he loved to write about. So in 1976 White took a break from covering presidential politics to write his memoirs. That left the field open to other journalists, and Witcover took up the challenge. And while "Marathon" never equals White's eloquence or gift for grasping the overall theme, or meaning, of a campaign, Witcover does provide an entertaining account of a close, hard-fought race.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on July 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Theodore H. White's "Making of the President" series set the standard for campaign books. White ended his string after the 1972 campaign, and it is from there that Whitcover picks up the torch. Witcover is a excellent journalist and a fine writer. He chronicles the chaos of the 1976 campaign on the Democratic side and shows how a determined darkhorse named Jimmy Carter was able to outlast his many rivals in part by getting an early jump start on them. He also documents the bitter nomination fight between Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford that almost tore the Republican party apart. Lastly, there is the general election in which Carter started with a huge lead and blundered his way into winning by the closest margain of any election since 1960. This is an excellent book for politics junkies.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K.A.Goldberg on December 5, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Journalist Jules Whitcover gives readers a comprehensive look at the 1976 Presidential campaign. Whitcover aptly describes the events, issues, candidates, and the state of the U.S.A. in 1976. President Gerald Ford was an unelected incumbent whose popularity dipped due to a sluggish economy and his pardon of Richard Nixon. Readers see how this made Ford ripe for a strong primary challenge by Ronald Reagan, and then the underdog in the fall campaign. The author shows how former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia swept to the nomination over several contenders via adroit primary strategy, luck, and a message of decency and trust. Then the author describes a fall campaign punctuated by mud-slinging, political manipulation, and quite a bit of foolishness. Finally, Carter won narrowly (after losing his big lead in the polls) due largely to his Southern roots and Ford's modest appeal. Readers get a strong feel for politics circa 1976, as well as a look at also-rans like Sargeant Shriver, Nelson Rockefeller, Birch Bayh, Frank Church, Jerry Brown, Henry Jackson, Morris Udall, etc.

Whitcover has written a thorough and very readable political narrative. He doesn't quite match the four MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT (1960-1972) editions by journalist Theodore H. White, but this is a vivid narrative.
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