What It Takes

The Way to the White House

By Richard Ben Cramer
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780679746492, 1072pp.)

Publication Date: June 1, 1993

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Description

An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race -- and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer comes up with the answers, in a book that is vast, exhaustively researched, exhilarating, and sometimes appalling in its revelations.




NPR
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Writer Michael Schaub recommends a book that explores what it's like to run for office and live through all the dramatic ups and downs. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer has died. He covered politics and the Middle East for The Baltimore Sun and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Cramer wrote the book What It Takes, about the 1988 presidential campaign and one of the defining treatments of American presidential politics. More at NPR.org

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Praise For What It Takes

"Quite possibly the finest book on presidential politics ever written, combining meticulous reporting and compelling, at times soaringly lyrical, prose." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The ultimate insider's book on presidential politics...an unparalleled source book on the 1988 candidates."

-- San Francisco Chronicle

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