Hanging Chads

Julian Pleasants, Author Palgrave MacMillan $48 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4039-6693-3
If you want a straight story, says popular wisdom, the best place to get it is from the horse's mouth. This hoary dictum has been heartily embraced by Pleasants (Orange Journalism: Voices from Florida Newspapers), a history professor at the University of Florida who offers a new take on the infamous presidential election of 2000. The majority of chapters consist of question-and-answer interviews--all but one conducted by the author--with key figures in the Sunshine State's election debacle. They include Supervisor of Elections Theresa""Madame Butterfly Ballot"" LePore; St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief Lucy Morgan; Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Tom Feeney; Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding; Judges Terry Lewis and Nikki Clark, who handed down critical decisions during the 36-day battle for votes; and Mac Stipanovich, a powerful Republican lobbyist and advisor to Secretary of State Katherine Harris. In addition to these Q&As, there's a concise introduction chronicling the events that ended with the federal Supreme Court's landmark decision, a helpful""cast of characters"" section and a compendium of court cases and legal terms that comes in handy when navigating the judicial jungle surrounding the election. Pleasants is an able and astute interviewer, but the book contains a considerable amount of padding. Still, the volume is intriguing as a collection of primary observations, unvarnished and unfiltered by a secondary voice. Although the election results may forever remain in doubt, this is a worthwhile addition to the growing body of literature on the 2000 election.
Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Ebook - 302 pages - 978-1-4039-7340-5
Paperback - 293 pages - 978-1-349-52982-7
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