It was the election that would ultimately give America Camelot” and its tragic aftermath, a momentous contest when three giants who each would have a chance to shape the nation battled to win the presidency.Award-winning author David Pietrusza does here for the 1960 presidential race what he did in his previous book, 1920: the Year of the Six Presidents which Kirkus Reviews selected as one of their Best Books of 2007. Until now, the most authoritative study of the 1960 election was Theodore White’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the President, 1960. But White, as a trusted insider, didn’t tell all. Here’s the rest of the story, what White could never have known, nor revealed. Finally, it’s all out including JFK’s poignant comment on why LBJ’s nomination as vice president would be inconsequential: I’m 43 years old. I’m not going to die in office.”Combining an engaging narrative with exhaustive research, Pietrusza chronicles the pivotal election of 1960, in which issues of civil rights and religion (Kennedy was only the second major-party Roman Catholic candidate ever) converged. The volatile primary clash between Senate Majority leader LBJ and the young JFK culminated in an improbable fusion ticket. The historic, legendary Kennedy-Nixon debates followed in its wake. The first presidential televised debates, they forever altered American politics when an exhausted Nixon was unkempt and tentative in their first showdown. With 80 million viewers passing judgment, Nixon’s poll numbers dropped as the charismatic Kennedy’s star rose. Nixon learned his lesson resting before subsequent debates, reluctantly wearing makeup, and challenging JFK with a more aggressive stance but the damage was done.There’s no one better to convey the drama of that tumultuous year than Pietrusza. He has 1,000 secrets to spill; a fascinating cast of characters to introduce (including a rogue’s gallery of hangers-on and manipulators); and towering historical events to chronicle. And all of it is built on painstaking research and solid historical scholarship. Pietrusza tracks down every lead to create a winning, engaging, and very readable account.With the 2008 elections approaching, politics will be on everyone’s mind, and 1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon will transform the way readers see modern American history.
A sampling of what Theodore White couldn’t chronicle and David Pietrusza does:
· Richard Nixon’s tempestuous Iowa backseat blowup, and his bizarre Election Day road trip
· The full story of a sympathetic call from JFK to Coretta Scott King
· John Ehrlichman’s spy missions on the Nelson Rockefeller and Democratic camps
· The warnings before Election Day that Chicago’s mayor Daley would try to fix the race’s outcome
· JFK’s amphetamine-fueled debate performance
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"David Pietrusza provides a cinematic retelling of a pivotal election that featured three men whose strengths, ambitions, and flaws would make them the leaders of the United States for the next 14 years, and bring each to grief. With an eye for the telling detail and the broad sweep of the twentieth century American history, Pietrusza's story is an important reminder of the perils of choosing a president."
--David O. Stewart, author of The Summer of 1787, The Men Who Invented the Constitution***"The bare-knuckle primaries. The back-room dealing of the conventions. The historic television debates. The explosive controversies of race, religion, and foreign policy. And, above all, the towering clash of personalities--LBJ, JFK, and Nixon. They're all here in David Pietrusza's superb 1960. 1960 provides new insights into that year's hard-fought, pivotal election, but, more than that, 1960 is great story-telling--a fascinating, can't-put-it-down account of how American politics really works."
--Former United States Attorney General Richard Thornburgh
Called one "of the best historians in the United States," David Pietrusza has produced a number of critically-acclaimed works concerning 20th century American history.
His book "1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies" was named by ForeWord Magazine as among the best political biographies.
Pietrusza's "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns.
Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled "Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series" was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award. Rothstein's audio version won an AUDIOFILE Earphones Award.
Pietrusza's "Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis," received the 1998 CASEY Award and was also a Finalist for the 1998 Seymour Medal and nominated for the NASSH Book Award.
Pietrusza collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called "Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures."
He has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN Book TV, C-SPAN American History TV, ESPN, the Fox News Channel, the History Channel ("The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents"), EBRU-TV, and the Fox Sports Channel. He has produced and written the PBS-affiliate documentary, "Local Heroes."
He is a contributing editor to The New York Sun.
His next book, "1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America's Role in the World," is a study of the dramatic 1948 presidential campaign.
Learn more at davidpietrusza.com
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