From Publishers Weekly
Almost every human foible has been displayed at some point during the past half century of presidential campaigning. Candidates have lied, cheated and stolen, they've fallen (both literally and figuratively), been shot at, gone batty and been caught in various compromising positions. As a political reporter and columnist, Witcover is one of a select few who has seen it all. An inquisitive mind with an innate interest for the competitiveness of national politics, he followed every presidential campaign from the contest between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960 to the battle between Bush and Kerry in 2004. Along the way, he engaged some of the century's most notable politicians, accumulating a treasure trove of political anecdotes chronologically presented in this impressive career memoir, portraying with equal objectivity both the winners and those who lost their presidential bid, though it's the latter that prove to be most interesting. With the notable exception of George W. Bush ("the worst and most dangerous president of my lifetime"), Witcover shies away from overt indictments, instead treating even those candidates whose politics or personalities he despised with a measure of respect. Their foibles, after all, were the breadcrumbs of his career.
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One of the reporters featured in Timothy Crouse's Boys on the Bus
(a landmark account of the 1972 presidential race), Witcover has worked the trenches of American politics for some 50 years, writing for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post,
and Baltimore Sun
and pairing, most famously, with Jack Germond for 24 years on one of D.C.'s must-read political columns. True to the author's workmanlike style, this memoir is not particularly flashy, but it is informed, covering as it does almost every major American political figure since JFK, particularly in the heat of their campaign battles. And there are some fine anecdotes, as when 1976 presidential hopeful Morris Udall announced, after losing in the Democratic primaries to Jimmy Carter: "The voters have spoken--the bastards!" For news junkies, Witcover shares many boys-on-the-bus adventures (alcohol being a major player) and also offers a glimpse into the newsrooms of the illustrious dailies for which he reported. A good backstory volume for those with deep interests in American politics and journalism. Alan MooresCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved