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Extended Audio Sample Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories from Presidential Campaign History, by John Dickerson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Dickerson Narrator: John Dickerson Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From Face the Nation moderator and Slate political columnist John Dickerson, Whistlestop tells the stories behind the stories of the most memorable and even forgotten moments in American presidential campaign history.

The stakes are high. The characters full of striving and ego. Presidential campaigns are a battle for control of power in the most powerful country on earth. Campaigns have a clear end, with winners and losers, but along the way there are sharp turning points built into the process-primaries, debates, conventions, and scandals that warp these intense characteristics, squeezing them into emergency action, frantic grasping and heroic moments. As Mike Murphy the political strategist put it: “Campaigns are like war without bullets.” [As Stephen Colbert has said, “Campaigns are the greatest story because the stakes are incredibly high and no one dies.” Whichever one works for you.]

Whistlestop tells the stories reporters and campaign aides rehash at the bar, each one adding an unknown tidbit, or shorthanding for reference—“Dukakis in the tank,” “Cuomo’s plane to New Hampshire,” or “Reagan seizing the microphone.” These are insider stories, but they are not just for political junkies. These are human stories full of drama and switchbacks, nervous gambits hatched in first floor hotel rooms, failures of will before the microphone, and the crack up of long-planned stratagems. In addition to the familiar tales, Whistlestop also tells the forgotten stories about the bruising and reckless campaigns of the 19th century, showing that 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.

Whistlestop is an examination of the full story of American politics and presidential campaigns.

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Quotes & Awards

  • As much as we arrogantly think our present political moment is new, it is not. Now, along comes this wonderful book to set us straight. It connects and interconnects signal campaigns from our 'glorious' past, where the same sausage making we decry today is on vivid, sometimes impressive, sometimes hilarious, display. Dickerson's artful time travel, so accessible but so eloquently written, will be red meat for anyone who counts themselves a politics carnivore-or anyone who cares about the fascinating mechanics of getting elected in the United States. Ken Burns
  • Filled with colorful characters and rollicking tales, this chronicle of exciting presidential campaigns is fun, informative, and enlightening. John Dickerson has a storyteller's touch and a historian's insight. It's nice to be reminded of the beauty and glory of American democracy at its best. Walter Isaacson
  • With a delightful conversational style featuring casual asides and plenty of incisive commentary, Dickerson's many years of experience covering politics informs his intriguing inside looks at how certain stories begin and how they grow... A politically astute, timely book that will also have great historical value for future campaigns. Kirkus Review
  • Whistlestop is entertaining and informative, but it also is a timely reminder for those tempted right now to believe that, with the growing divisions in this country, all is lost. No matter how big the storm that throws us off course, we have a history of righting the ship and steering into calmer waters. Connie Schultz, The Washington Post
  • Dickerson's work 'connects and interconnects signal campaigns from our 'glorious' past, where the same sausage making we decry today is on vivid, sometimes impressive, sometimes hilarious, display.' Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press
  • A gifted chronicler, Dickerson looks back over two centuries of election campaigns and zeros in on flashpoint episodes that somehow reset the collective national narrative. The National Book Review
  • "Whistlestop, [a] breezy but substantive account of key presidential campaign moments. Christian Science Monitor
  • Dickerson knows what he is doing...[This book] should be kept on the night stand and dipped into when you crave a good tale. 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 into perspective - or, perhaps, to escape from it. NYT Book Review
  • These stories illustrate that although this election is unusual, it's not unprecedented...Dickerson's book is an edifying reminder that human beings don't change. Politicians and voters alike often forget the past, and end up repeating the same mistakes. The Federalist
  • “Filled with colorful characters and rollicking tales, this chronicle of exciting presidential campaigns is fun, informative, and enlightening. John Dickerson has a storyteller’s touch and a historian’s insight.”

    Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author and CEO of the Aspen Institute

  • “As much as we arrogantly think our present political moment is new, it is not. Now, along comes this wonderful book to set us straight. It connects and interconnects signal campaigns from our ‘glorious’ past, where the same sausage making we decry today is on vivid, sometimes impressive, sometimes hilarious, display. Dickerson’s artful time travel, so accessible but so eloquently written, will be red meat for anyone who counts themselves a politics carnivore—or anyone who cares about the fascinating mechanics of getting elected in the United States.”

    Ken Burns, American filmmaker

  • Whistlestop is entertaining and informative, but it also is a timely reminder for those tempted right now to believe that, with the growing divisions in this country, all is lost. No matter how big the storm that throws us off course, we have a history of righting the ship and steering into calmer waters.”

    Washington Post

  • “With a delightful conversational style featuring casual asides and plenty of incisive commentary, Dickerson’s many years of experience covering politics informs his intriguing inside looks at how certain stories begin and how they grow… A politically astute, timely book that will also have great historical value for future campaigns.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
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