Whistlestop by John Dickerson
My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History

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No bold new ground is broken here, no unknown moments rescued from obscurity...But Dickerson knows what he is doing: “Whistlestop,” he writes at one point, is a book “to luxuriate in on the couch while you watch the sun move across the living room.” This is precisely the lyrical, laid-back rhythm the book achieves.
-NY Times

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From Face the Nation moderator and contributing editor for The Atlantic John Dickerson come the stories behind the stories of the most memorable moments in American presidential campaign history.

The stakes are high. The characters full of striving and ego. Presidential campaigns are a contest for control of power in the most powerful country on earth. The battle of ideas has a clear end, with winners and losers, and along the way there are sharp turning points-primaries, debates, conventions, and scandals that squeeze candidates into emergency action, frantic grasping, and heroic gambles. As Mike Murphy the political strategist put it, "Campaigns are like war without bullets."

WHISTLESTOP tells the human story of nervous gambits hatched in first-floor hotel rooms, failures of will before the microphone, and the cross-country crack-ups of long-planned stratagems. At the bar at the end of a campaign day, these are the stories reporters rehash for themselves and embellish for newcomers. In addition to the familiar tales, WHISTLESTOP also remembers the forgotten stories about the bruising and reckless campaigns of the nineteenth century when the combatants believed the consequences included the fate of the republic itself. Some of the most modern-feeling elements of the American presidential campaign were born before the roads were paved and electric lights lit the convention halls-or there were convention halls at all.

WHISTLESTOP is a ride through the American campaign history with one of its most enthusiastic conductors guiding you through the landmarks along the way.

 

About John Dickerson

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John Dickerson is Slate.com's chief political correspondent and appears regularly on NPR, FOX and MSNBC. A former White House correspondent for Time magazine, he covered George W. Bush's administration and his presidential campaigns. He and his wife and two children live in Washington, DC.
 
Published August 2, 2016 by Twelve. 413 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Whistlestop
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Jul 11 2016

The Face the Nation moderator eases our fears about the 2016 presidential campaigns by showing other historical horrors related to our highest office...A politically astute, timely book that will also have great historical value for future campaigns.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Molly Ball on Sep 16 2016

No bold new ground is broken here, no unknown moments rescued from obscurity...But Dickerson knows what he is doing: “Whistlestop,” he writes at one point, is a book “to luxuriate in on the couch while you watch the sun move across the living room.” This is precisely the lyrical, laid-back rhythm the book achieves.

Read Full Review of Whistlestop: My Favorite Stor... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Molly Ball on Sep 16 2016

Like Dickerson as an interviewer, it has sturdy charm; it is inquisitive, generous, probing and thoughtful. You read “Whistlestop” to put the chaos of today’s campaign into perspective — or, perhaps, to escape from it.

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