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Presidential Debates: Fifty Years of High-Risk TV Paperback – July 3, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0231141055 ISBN-10: 023114105X Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews


Schroeder's 'tour' is a good one, sparked by lively writing and an eye for telling details.

(Publishers Weekly)

Alan Schroeder's book gives readers an illuminating and detailed behind-the-scenes look at the debates that have shaped recent American history.

(Tim Sampson Politics (Campaigns & Elections))


If you are interested in presidential politics and think debates help decide the outcome of elections, this book is essential reading. Inside are fascinating accounts of what has gone on behind the scenes at every debate since Kennedy-Nixon.

(Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer)|

Schroeder's book is far and away the best I've ever come across on the history of presidential debates.

(Ken Rudin, political editor, National Public Radio)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 2nd edition (July 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023114105X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231141055
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #995,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Professor Schroeder's book is both readable and scholarly. The book examines almost every aspect of the presidential debates, from the audiences, to the moderators, to the competitors.

Schroeder includes many interesting and little-known facts about the debates. For instance, Reagan himself crafted the "there you go again line"; Nixon remarked on Kennedy's tan before the famous 1960 debate started; and television producers worried that Admiral Stockdale would fall down during the 1992 vice presidential debate.

Schroeder combines readability with careful analysis. The book is well written and accessible, but is nevertheless well sourced. Over 800 footnotes are a testament to Schroeder's attention to detail and mastery of the subject area.

This book is a must-read for those interested in understanding presidential debates past, present, and future.

Aaron Zelinsky
The Presidential Debate Blog
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