Friday, October 9, 2009

How do you teach your students about the campaign process?

Longer ago than I care to admit, I was assigned Theodore H. White's The Making of the President 1960 as required reading in a political science class. I wasn't a political science major--and I took the class to fulfill what felt to me like an unfair social science requirement. I approached White's book with great caution and the class in general with dread and the faint hope that I would be able to eke out the B I needed to keep my scholarship.

Both The Making of the President 1960 and the class were a complete and happy surprise to me. White's book was filled with gritty details, and I flew through it--completely fascinated by the campaign process. I still stop dead in my tracks when I happen upon footage of the Kennedy/Nixon debates. The book is available again to convince the next generation of indifferent students that elections are furious battles--the stuff of high drama. This time around it comes with a new foreword by Robert Dallek.

Those who can't get enough of the Kennedys can turn to Ted Sorensen's Counselor: A Life on the Edge of History and his classic and surprisingly candid biography of Kennedy. And, Adam Clymer's Edward M. Kennedy places the youngest Kennedy brother's career in a historical perspective.

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