1968: The Election That Changed America (American Ways Series)

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The race for the White House in 1968 was a watershed event in American politics. In this compact and evenhanded narrative analysis, Lewis L. Gould shows how the events of 1968 changed the way Americans felt about politics and their leaders; how Republicans used the skills they brought to Richard Nixon's campaign to create a generation-long ascendancy in presidential politics; how Democrats, divided and torn after 1968, emerged as only crippled challengers for the White House throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Bitterness over racial issues and the Vietnam War that marked the 1968 election continued to shape national affairs. The election, Mr. Gould observes, accelerated an erosion of confidence in American institutions that has not yet reached a conclusion. In this lucid account he considers the phenomena of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, the campaigns of Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace, and the extraordinary events of what McCarthy later called the "Hard Year."

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About the Author:

Lewis L. Gould is Barker Professor of Centennial History at the University of Texas, Austin. His other books include Reform and Regulation: American Politics from Roosevelt to Wilson and The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.

From Publishers Weekly:

Richard M. Nixon's defeat of Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election ushered in the Republicans' near-monopoly of the White House for two decades. University of Texas historian Gould's concise and engrossing analysis of this decisive election overturns conventional wisdom on many points, showing, for example, that Robert Kennedy was a less formidable national candidate than people at the time and later historians have believed. Gould maintains that the election's outcome was determined largely by the decline in Democratic loyalty during the '60s. Nixon played up "wedge issues" to draw whites with conservative views on race, crime and moral values--a technique, notes Gould, that Reagan and Bush would later exploit. Using unpublished materials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Gould fills in the details of Nixon's attempt to thwart an "October surprise" by President Johnson on Humphrey's behalf. As LBJ pushed a peace initiative with the Vietnamese, Nixon worked through Ann Chennault (widow of WW II hero Claire Chennault) to stall South Vietnamese acceptance of a bombing halt until after Election Day. LBJ and Humphrey failed to blow the whistle on Nixon, because doing so would have revealed that they had wiretapped Chennault's phone conversations.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9781566638623: 1968: The Election That Changed America (American Ways)

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