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Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election Paperback – October 8, 2002
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From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
Packed with news-making disclosures and written with the drive of a legal thriller, Too Close to Call takes us inside James Baker's private jet, through the locked gates to Al Gore's mansion, behind the covered-up windows of Katherine Harris's office, and even into the secret conference room of the United States Supreme Court. As the scene shifts from Washington to Austin and into the remote corners of the enduringly strange Sunshine State, Toobin's book will transform what you thought you knew about the most extraordinary political drama in American history.
The Florida recount unfolded in a kaleidoscopic maze of bizarre concepts (chads, pregnant and otherwise), unfamiliar people in critically important positions (the Florida Supreme Court), and familiar people in surprising new places (the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez, in a previously undisclosed role in this melodrama). With the rich characterization that is his trademark, Toobin portrays the prominent strategists who masterminded the campaigns--the Daleys and the Roves--and also the lesser-known but influential players who pulled the strings, as well as the judges and justices whose decisions determined the final outcome. Toobin gives both camps a treatment they have not yet received--remarkably evenhanded, nonpartisan, andentirely new.
The post-election period posed a challenge to even the most zealous news junkie: how to keep up with what was happening and sort out the important from the trivial. Jeffrey Toobin has now done this--and then some. With clarity, insight, humor, and a deep understanding of the law, he deconstructs the events, the players, and the often Byzantine intricacies of our judicial system. A remarkable account of one of the most significant periods in our country's history, Too Close to Call is endlessly surprising, frequently poignant, and wholly addictive.
"From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike (perhaps) the other reviewers of this book, I have hands-on experience with punch-card ballot counting machines, software and procedures. I can say without qualification if you want to be absolutely sure, you have to look at the ballots themselves. The voting machines mis-calibrate, voters and others mishandle the cards, the counting machines jam possibly losing or double-counting a ballot. Anyone who has used a copier has a sense of how much trust we should place in these devices.
Toobin briefly describes the events, legal issues, political maneuvering and, in particular, the failure of Florida's elected officials to do the jobs the citizens entrusted to them. He has criticism for many of the participants and particularly Katherine Harris, Joe Lieberman, Theresa Lapore and Sanders Sauls. If you admire any of those people, you won't like this book.
Several reviewers have given "Too Close To Call" one-star for Toobin's presumed liberal bias. He clearly argues that Floridian's INTENDED choice for President did not win. Those who already disagree with that conclusion will find no comfort here.
Toobin's theme is that while Gore focused on managing the process in a statesmanlike way, the GOP concentrated on winning at any cost. According to this author, Clinton said he would have declared victory, played the race card, fought the inclusion of the controversial military ballots, and encouraged mass protests in the streets. One wonders where such an approach would have led.
The author's harshest criticism is reserved for the US Supreme Court, where Rehnquist and his allies abused their power and behaved as unscrupulous political hacks. Even conservatives find it difficult to defend Rehnquist's action that stopped the statewide recount.Read more ›
That said, this is not an unbiased book. Toobin unquestionably sympathizes with the Gore campaign, and seems to almost root for them. This does not, however, alter his in-depth and accurate reporting of the basic facts of the case, which are laid out clearly and simply, providing a very easy and fun read. He does tend to editorialize, and doubtlessly, the charges against the Bush campaign (that their hypocrites, amorale, and underhanded) are serious compared to those he levels against the Gore campaign (too compromised by their sense of fair play and their desire for positive media attention). However, this does tend to come across as a kind of admiration for the complete devotion of the Bush soldiers, the intelligence of James Baker, and the tenacity of their lawyers.
Overall, this should not be construed as a strictly journalistic work (though it does serve as a good vehicle for learning the facts of the case), but as an entertaining and though-provoking fact-based editorial.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I know the story but there were far more details here I learned. It brought back the entire incredulousness and anger of the Supreme Court hearing the case rather forcing a real... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Beverly H. Tatum
If it is by Jeffrey Toobin, buy it! I did not have any idea of how complicated this issue was, nor the extent to which things were affected. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Angus McTavish
My daughter had to read it for a summer social studies assignment. I remembered the events vividly, and Mr. Read morePublished 16 months ago by R. A. Simon
It's impossible to put this book down, even though you know the ending. Toobin points out the missteps of the Gore campaign, and the personal qualities that crippled Gore's ability... Read morePublished 22 months ago by J. W. Grace
Great book by a great author. Provides deep insight into both the intricacies of the laws
controlling appellate courts, the politics inside the courts, and the personalities... Read more
As an attorney, the US Supreme Court's decision in Bush vs. Gore has rankled me since it was handed down in 2000. Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Mikemac09
I enjoyed the book a lot. It brought back many memories of that period when we were all holding our breath to see who would win. I was rooting for Gore. Read morePublished on November 13, 2012 by kath12
This book arrived quickly and pristinely. Five stars for the service. Negative 5 stars because this book SUCKS ____ (you fill in the blank). Read morePublished on July 19, 2012 by Douglas