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The Choice Hardcover – July 2, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

No one gets the inside story like Bob Woodward, the reporter of the Watergate scandal who has made a career of investigating -- and writing about -- the inner workings of the highest levels of government. In The Choice he has produced a look at the two candidates for the 1996 presidential race, Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, published before the two parties' political conventions. The book details the political maneuvers endemic to the current climate: strategies, sessions, spins and ads aimed at repositioning and re-focusing either of the candidates in the light most favorable to the latest poll. It is the private not the public faces of our politicians that engage Woodward's skeptical gaze.

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Mr. Clinton and Mr. Dole emerge from these pages as bizarre political twins; as portrayed by Mr. Woodward, the subjects of The Choice offer little choice at all. -- The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Printing edition (July 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684813084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684813080
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,387,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you want to read a book about politics, this is the book to read. Even if you are skeptical or apathetic towards American politics, I would still recommend this book to you-- it might make you more interested in the subject. Woodward takes us behind the scenes of the 1996 presidential elections, showing us the intricacies and complexities involved. He does a powerful job of keeping this potentially flat topic lively and engaging. The first time I read this was in 1998, and I am still raving about it.
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Format: Hardcover
Woodward carefully documents the early stages of the 1996 presidential election, covering mid-1994 to April 1996. Note that the book's coverage ends before the national party conventions. Woodward tries to give equal treatment to both parties, but Republicans clearly cooperated with him much more than Clinton's staff (who no doubt feel burned by Woodward's earlier exposé of Clinton, 'The Agenda'). More than anything else, this is a character study of Bob Dole, who candidly shared his thoughts with the author throughout the period. We also learn a great deal about Powell, Forbes, and Dick Morris.
Woodward's style is not for everyone. He carefully reconstructs various meetings, explaining who said what to who. However, Woodward uses paraphrases instead of direct quotes, unless he's sure of the exact words spoken. Many readers will find the result to be incredibly tedious, although I appreciate Woodward's concern for accuracy when quoting people. The book gives the reader a real sense of being in the room when important conversations occur regarding the federal budget or campaign strategy.
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By A Customer on February 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I bought book this book at Pick and Save for a dollar. If I paid full price it would have been worth it. If you ever wondered whether the people at the top are just like us you won't wonder any more after reading this book. This gives a great preview of the 2000 election as well as the 96 election and in a sense fortold some of the impeachment trial. A must read for those who must vote.
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Format: Hardcover
ISBN 0684813084 - Amidst my piles of current political books, there are many like The Choice: no longer current "current event" writings that might seem outdated but actually offer an interesting perspective on today's politics. As I read my way through them, I'm surprised to find that they're still enlightening, informative and entertaining.

In 1994, the campaign for the 1996 Presidential election began. Bill Clinton was pretty clearly the Democratic candidate, but the field was wide open in the Republican Party. Woodward spent time with candidates and potential candidates - Colin Powell, Pete Wilson, Lamar Alexander, Steve Forbes, Pat Buchanan, etc - for the Republican nomination, as well as their family, friends and staff. He shares the results of innumerable interviews and gives the reader a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the political landscape.

We know how this one turned out. In fact, Woodward published what looks like his "Ball Four Plus Ball Five" (if The Choice is "Ball Four") with The Choice: How Bill Clinton Won. This book ends with 174 days to go to the general election; the other, based on the title, goes further. There's still much of interest in here. Candidate Dole gets much more ink than President Clinton, for whatever reason; considering the way things turned out, that might be a good thing because it's a bit like his political epitaph.
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Format: Hardcover
I got to revisit the 1996 presidential election when I listened
to THE CHOICE, Bob Woodward's insightful account of the
race between President Bill Clinton and Senate Majority Leader
Bob Dole.

It was a behind-the-scenes view of what took place in each
camp . . . though the outcome never seemed in doubt, I still
liked how it made me appreciate the ups and downs of
what has become a two year trek to lead the nation.

I also became more aware of Clinton's political brilliance . . . in
addition, THE CHOICE made me think more highly of Dole--along
with his wife Elizabeth (who methinks might have been an
even better candidate for the top spot).

The narration by Tony Roberts added to my enjoyment of this book.
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Format: Audio Cassette
The following comments are for "The Choice" by Bob Woodward - audiocassette version.

In retrospect the contest for the presidential election of 1996, Clinton vs. Dole, is for many an historical curiosity of marginal significance. Bob Dole got trounced and then faded into the sunset.

My interest in this book has more to do with the man, Bob Dole, then the electoral outcome or the issues. Since I read his autobiography "One Soldier's Story: A Memoir" I came to the realization that Mr. Dole was not only a courageous survivor of crippling war injuries but an individual I personally admired a great deal.

This book, presents the political Dole in an evenhanded manner that confirmed my high oppinion of him. Certainly Clinton is covered in great detail since it is, of course, a book about both candidates.

Students of the 1996 election will find this book a helpful research tool.
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