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Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning Paperback – April 16, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Going Dirty explores [the] long history of negative campaigning, recounting both familiar episodes (Willie Horton, anyone?) and those readers may have forgotten. The recurring theme is that well-timed, adroitly executed attacks are often effective; sloppy tactics by campaigns that misunderstand the electorate tend to elicit backlashes....Mark doesn't argue that people who are tired of watching negative ads can read his book instead. But if he did, it wouldn't be such a bad idea. (W. James Antle III National Review)

Recommended. (CHOICE)

Going Dirty is a nonjudgemental, thorough, insider's history of an undeniably strong aspect of the American political institution, and highly recommended. (Midwest Book Review)

...essential history of negative campaigning in American politics, and how candidates use the technique, with varying degrees of success. (Ken Rudin, author of the Political Junkie blog for National Public Radio)

'Why are campaigns so negative?' This is a question I get asked regularly by audiences, and the obvious answer―because they work―is not really adequate. Now, with a series of case studies and some historical grounding, David Mark has provided texture and bite to the longstanding issue of the tough, negative and sometimes very dirty nature of political campaigning. The next time I get asked the question, I will answer, 'Read David Mark's Going Dirty.' (Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute)

For the serious student of political campaigns, this book includes nearly everything you wanted to know about negative campaigning and has some very interesting case studies as tactics changed during the the television and Internet era. A chapter titled 'What Good Old Days' reminds us that negative campaigning is an American tradition. Recommended. (Taegan Goddard's Political Wire)

The next time opposing candidates accuse each other of negative campaigning―which should be any minute now―you'll want Going Dirty within easy reach. David Mark's lively and meticulous history will help you distinguish what's hard and fair from what's over the line. (Michael Cornfield, scholar and author of Politics Moves Online: Campaigning and the Internet)

A must-read for anyone interested in the negative ads that have come to dominate our campaigns. (Robert M. Stern, Center for Governmental Studies)

Negative campaigning―the public hates it, the press loves it, the candidates need it. And David Mark has documented it from A (attack) to Z (zonk) in this creative compendium of dirty politics, past, present, and future. (Larry J. Sabato, director, University of Virginia Center for Politics)

About the Author

David Mark is a senior editor for Politico.

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