Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Campaign of the Century

PoliPointPress is launching a new series called P3 Classics. The idea is to revive fantastic books on politics that, for one reason or another, are out of print.

The first title is a personal favorite of mine–-Greg Mitchell’s The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair’s Race for Governor and the Birth of Media Politics. It recounts the landmark 1934 campaign by checking in with a wide range of public figures–Sinclair, FDR, Hearst, Huey Long, Chaplin, L.B. Mayer, Herbert Hoover, Mencken, Ty Cobb, etc.–on a day-by-day basis, starting with Sinclair’s nomination and ending with the general election. Amazing.

Greg’s claim is that this race’s impact far outstripped its statewide significance. In fact, the techniques brought to bear on this race revolutionized the use of mass media in U.S. politics.

Earlier this year I attended an event at the Swiss consulate in San Francisco and chatted with a member of the Swiss parliament in town to discuss direct democracy. I mentioned that I was trying to reissue a book about Upton Sinclair. “Mitchell?” he asked hopefully.

Greg is making lots of appearances to discuss the book, including segments on GRITtv and NPR’s “On the Media” this weekend. He also has a related article in The Nation.

P3 is selling the book from the website; the print book is available now and the e-book is scheduled for Monday.

Check it out, I say.

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