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Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976 Hardcover – January, 1980

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Outlet (January 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517293161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517293164
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,005,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jules Witcover has written several excellent books on American politics over the last 35 years. Among them are a moving account of Bobby Kennedy's doomed 1968 presidential bid and a critical look at Reagan's election to the Presidency in 1980. In "Marathon" Witcover attempts to pull a Teddy White and write the definitive account of the 1976 presidential campaign. White became famous in 1961 with the publication of "The Making of the President 1960", his bestselling account of the legendary Kennedy-Nixon presidential campaign. White had the advantage of being the first journalist to write an entire book about how we elect (or elected) Presidents in this country so soon after the election he covered. White then wrote an entire series of "Making of the President" books, covering the campaigns of 1964, 1968, and 1972. By 1976 White was tired of writing about campaigns that he felt made less and less sense and which seemed to be dominated more by primaries and photo ops than by the old-fashioned back-room dealing and campaign barnstorming that he loved to write about. So in 1976 White took a break from covering presidential politics to write his memoirs. That left the field open to other journalists, and Witcover took up the challenge. And while "Marathon" never equals White's eloquence or gift for grasping the overall theme, or meaning, of a campaign, Witcover does provide an entertaining account of a close, hard-fought race.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Though it is often overshadowed by the author's own later collaborations with Jack Germond (as well as the then-contemporary efforts of Hunter Thompson), Jules Witcover's Marathon is one of the unheralded classic works of the political nonfiction genre. Covering the twists and turns of the rather bizarre 1976 Presidential election, Witcover follows the campaign from the very first stirrings of Jimmy Carter's longshot candidacy at the '72 Democratic Convention all the way to the photo finish that finds the nation faced with a choice worthy of Samuel Beckett -- Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Lester Maddox, or Eugene McCarthy? In between, Witcover provides excellent, insightful coverage of the now-forgotten efforts of such diverse men as the tragically witty Mo Udall, the endearingly spacey Jerry Brown, the bizarrely sympathetic George Wallace, and the deliberately enigmatic Ronald Reagan to take their respective nominations away from these men and change the course of American history. If you ever wondered how America eventually produced a political system that could see everyone from Pennsylvania's hapless Gov. Milton Shapp to Oklahoma's radical former Sen. Fred Harris transformed, however briefly, into a legitimate presidential contender, this is the book for you. Years after it was written and, unfairly, neglected, Marathon stands as one of the best books ever written on the subject of how we occasionally stumble into selecting our nation's leader.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Journalist Jules Whitcover gives readers a comprehensive look at the 1976 Presidential campaign. Whitcover aptly describes the events, issues, candidates, and the state of the U.S.A. in 1976. President Gerald Ford was an unelected incumbent whose popularity dipped due to a sluggish economy and his pardon of Richard Nixon. Readers see how this made Ford ripe for a strong primary challenge by Ronald Reagan, and then the underdog in the fall campaign. The author shows how former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia swept to the nomination over several contenders via adroit primary strategy, luck, and a message of decency and trust. Then the author describes a fall campaign punctuated by mud-slinging, political manipulation, and quite a bit of foolishness. Finally, Carter won narrowly (after losing his big lead in the polls) due largely to his Southern roots and Ford's modest appeal. Readers get a strong feel for politics circa 1976, as well as a look at also-rans like Sargeant Shriver, Nelson Rockefeller, Birch Bayh, Frank Church, Jerry Brown, Henry Jackson, Morris Udall, etc.

Whitcover has written a thorough and very readable political narrative. He doesn't quite match the four MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT (1960-1972) editions by journalist Theodore H. White, but this is a vivid narrative.
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Format: Hardcover
For those who think Jimmy Carter was a pious Christian and never said a bad thing about anyone, read this book.
For those who think Gerald Ford was right - or wrong - in his pardon of Nixon, read this book.
For those who remember the far left policies of Muskie, McGovern, and Humphrey, read this book.
For those who barely remember Frank Church, Morris Udall, and Fred Harris, read this book.
For those who want to understand how Reagan learned from his 1976 mistakes - particularly in his selection of a running mate - and won four years later, read this book.
In short, if you like politics, read this book.
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