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6 Book Stories That’ll Cast The Election In New Light

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
November 3, 2012

With only days until Nov. 6, and plenty of election ennui going around, NPR Books dug into the archives for new ways to look at the election story. Here you’ll find accounts of past campaigns gone wrong, an examination of the science and art of prediction and an idea of what happens when the pre-presidential storyline gets a dose of sci fi, fantasy and puberty, respectively.

‘Pursuit Of Darkness’: Beltway Bloodsuckers Washington insider Jeff Gillenkirk mixes politics and the supernatural in an election novel that imagines a world in which vampires have controlled American politics for more than 200 years. Despite its fantastical facade, Pursuit of Darkness presents a picture of Washington that feels frighteningly familiar. (Book Review, April 3, 2012)

‘Signal’ And ‘Noise’: Prediction As Art And ScienceIn an election year, with numerous polls being taken on a daily basis, it’s impossible to avoid predictions, but statistical analyst Nate Silver says humility is key to making those predictions accurate. Silver writes the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, named for the number of votes in the Electoral College. In The Signal and the Noise,, he looks at the explosion of data available in the Internet age and the challenge of using those data to come to thoughtful prediction. (Fresh Air interview, Oct. 10, 2012)

Can’t Get Enough? Books To Feed Your Election Fix Are you experiencing political addiction? Signs include an obsession with the electoral map, overuse of the phrase “game changer” and a trancelike fixation on Election Day. If this could be you, then we have three books to feed your habit, from a look at the 1988 presidential race to a high-stakes high school campaign. (Three Books … Oct. 6, 2008)

Changing The ‘Game,’ But Not For The Better Speaking of game changers, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s 2010 account of the 2008 presidential election, Game Change, made headlines with some of its revelations, among them that John McCain’s aides didn’t think Sarah Palin was fit to be vice president. Critic John Powers wonders whether the book really deserved all that attention. (Fresh Air book review, Jan. 29, 2010)

The Thomas Eagleton Affair Haunts Candidates Today Joshua Glasser’s The Eighteen-Day Running Mate delivers a real-life story of one of the worst things that can happen to a presidential campaign: In 1972, Democratic candidate George McGovern chose the young Sen. Thomas Eagleton as his running mate. Just 18 days later, revelations about Eagleton’s mental health history forced him to drop out. The incident forever changed the way presidential candidates pick their No. 2′s. (All Things Considered interview, Aug. 4, 2012)

‘Taft 2012′: A Presidential Time WarpElections ain’t what they used to be, and Jason Heller proves it by resurrecting a president of yore and putting him in the middle of a 21st century election cycle. The result is a satirical take on contemporary politics through the eyes — and tweets — of William Howard Taft. (Morning Edition interview, Jan. 23, 2012)

[Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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