- Hardcover: 391 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Publishers; 1st edition (1973)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0689105533
- ISBN-13: 978-0689105531
- Package Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,597,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Making of the President, 1972: A Narrative History of American Politics in Action Hardcover – 1973
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From the Back Cover
In The Making of the President 1972, the fourth volume of narrative history of American politics in action, Theodore H. White brings his defining quartet of campaign narratives to a surprising and riveting close. The consummate journalist, White chronicles both the Democratic and the Republican parties as they jockeyed for position toward the end of Richard M. Nixon’s turbulent first term. He illuminates the cinematic moments that shaped the campaign—the attempt on George Wallace’s life, Edmund Muskie crying in the snow in New Hampshire, the swift rise and fall of Tom Eagleton, and the ongoing anguish of Vietnam—leading inexorably to a second chaotic collapse among the Democrats and a landslide victory for Nixon. Yet even as the president’s highest ambitions were confirmed, White watches aghast as the “new Nixon” of 1968 is eclipsed by the corrupt Nixon of old—a Shakespearean conclusion to an astonishing political epoch.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Theodore H. White (19151986) was an American political journalist, historian, and novelist, best known for the Making of the President series: his accounts of the 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972 presidential elections, all of which are being reissued with new forewords by Harper Perennial Political Classics. His other books include Thunder Out of China, America in Search of Itself, and In Search of History: A Personal Adventure.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
In 1972, Richard Nixon was the incumbent President of the United States. His re-nomination was never in doubt. Most of the early part of the book instead covers the Democratic side of the election. The 1972 election was marked by new rules in the Democratic Party creating more primary elections and thus a more contested battle for the nomination. The Democrats had several major candidates vying for the nomination this cycle. Hubert Humphrey, Democratic nominee in 1968, ran again for President, although he was unable to find enough support. Edmund Muskie was considered the front-runner for a while, but his campaign would collapse. Although there was some doubt as to who the nominee would be, when the Democrats convened their convention, George McGovern, Senator from South Dakota, would be nominated.
The book goes into detail about the missteps of McGovern's campaign. The biggest one would be that of his running mate, Senator Thomas Eagleton. Not too shortly after he was nominated for Vice President, it was revealed that Eagleton had a history of mental illness and had gone through electroshock therapy. Although he considered himself cured of it, the public questioned his place on the ticket. McGovern famously said he was behind Eagleton "1000 percent" but the issue did not go away. His place on the ticket would eventually be replaced with Sargent Shriver.
The book also looks at several issues of the election. One of the biggest was the Vietnam War. McGovern was staunchly anti-war. While Nixon worked with the idea of "peace with honor," McGovern wanted the United States out of Vietnam as soon as possible, even if it meant admitting defeat. Another issue was that of busing. Busing meant moving children around to different schools in order to achieve a more appropriate racial balance. Nixon was not a fan of this idea.
During the election, while the Democrats battled over the nomination and McGovern's missteps during his campaign, Nixon played the part of statesman with his famous visits to China and the Soviet Union.
Although the book was published before everything was known, White also delves into the early events of the Watergate scandal. He writes it off as a supremely stupid operation. White, attempting to write history as it happened, obviously was not aware of the full extent of what was going on.
When the United States voted in November, Nixon won re-election in a landslide. He got about 61% of the popular vote. McGovern only carried Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. It was noted how important ticket-splitting effected this election. For example, despite the Nixon landslide, Republicans only gained twelve seats in the House of Representatives and actually lost two seats in the Senate.
I found this book to be an enjoyable and interesting contemporary look at the 1972 presidential election. I would recommend this to those interested in American history or political junkies.
The two issues I have with the late Mr. White's book is he gives scant time to the effects of Governor Wallace's campaign as well as the assassination attempt on the little, Georgian bigot's life and the author's coverage of Watergate is incomplete due to the publishing deadline for the book. The work does, however, cover some interesting ground such as the implosion of Senator Muskie's campaign; the 1970 U.S. Census; race; Baby Boomers; the proliferation of shopping malls; the Thomas Eagleton debacle and frantic search for a VP replacement; and President Nixon's and the liberal presses' mutual, destructive animosity.
It was somewhat freaky that while I was in the middle of reading Mr. White's fourth and last book in his "The Making of the President" series, Senator McGovern died at the age of 90. I know it isn't kosher to speak ill of the dead, but the late Senator ran an extremely terrible campaign; staffed by mostly young zealots who wouldn't have noticed a good idea if it came up and bit them in the backside. The enigma known as the late President Nixon is treated much too kindly considering what came to light after the book was published. Overall, "The Making of the President 1972" has less vim and vigor than the three previous installments. Mr. White, as usual, still displays a mastery of language but the book I found quite depressing and incomplete.
Most recent customer reviews
I do not know anything better to present political campaings at its best.Read more