Review by Choice Review
Brown (Villanova Univ.) takes on the formidable task of explaining the means and motivations of the many individuals who strove for the biggest prize in US politics, the presidency. She examines the genesis of this ambition and its interactions with institutions and partisan factors, and the key linkages that play a role in the process of winning a nomination and competing in a general election, win or lose. Brown writes engagingly of James K. Polk and selective winners from different eras: the "early party era," which includes Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln; the "strong party era" of McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Nixon; and the "modern party era" of Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush--with a chapter on losers from each era. The concluding chapter deals with the 2008 election; the analysis of how the Obama forces outmaneuvered Senator Clinton's campaign is admirable. Brown writes well and avoids academic jargon. Her ambitious attempt for cohesive coverage of a vast sweep of US political history is competent; however, the reach of this book exceeds its grasp overall. The figures, tables (some could be dispensed with), copious endnotes, bibliography, appendixes, and comprehensive index are useful to readers. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections. S. L. Harrison University of Miami
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.