Review by Choice Review
Vavreck (Univ. of California, Los Angeles) offers an analysis of economics as a factor in US presidential campaigns, 1952-2000. In the more distant past, economic issues were the linchpin in some notable campaigns--especially for Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, and FDR. Vavreck investigates whether or not economic issues play a similar role today and finds that very often they do not. During an unstable economic period, Kennedy virtually ignored issues of the economy and ran on a (phony) "missile gap" and patriotic issues. In effect, often voters do not "vote their pocketbook" or their own best interests. Vavreck argues that it is not just the state of the economy, but how candidates react, how the issues are presented, what the voters really comprehend, and how well the candidates present their positions. In short, the message does matter; but that message may not deal with economics. Vavreck reports how the various media cover the candidates and the issues and detects a shift in that key electoral factor. Lucid writing sheds light on a subject often neglected, and readers can glean some useful information. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections. S. L. Harrison University of Miami
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.