Counting Every Vote: The Most Contentious Elections in American History

Robert Dudley, Author, Eric Shiraev, Author
Robert Dudley, Author, Eric Shiraev, Author Potomac Books $24.95 (185p) ISBN 978-1-59797-224-6
Reviewed on: 11/03/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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In six elections, authors and professors Dudley and Shiraev relive, to surprisingly dull effect, the contests that most divided the American people. Perhaps you had to be there; probably the most exciting contest is the 2000 presidential election in which Bush took Gore to the Supreme Court and introduced America to ""the chad."" The authors also capture some of the thrill of 1960's Kennedy-Nixon race, in which Kennedy famously took Illinois with only nine of the 99 counties. Following the specifics of each case, the authors speculate on how the results might have been reversed and what it would have meant for history. But even those speculations prove tame: if Humphrey had beat Nixon in the 1968 campaign, for example, the authors conclude that he would have tried to end the Vietnam war prior to 1972 and on America's terms. Further, the authors themselves conclude that ""close elections had a negligible impact on the course of history""; this slight read has all the facts, but fails to find the heart of the conflict.
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