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What It Takes

The Way to the White House

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race -- and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer comes up with the answers, in a book that is vast, exhaustively researched, exhilarating, and sometimes appalling in its revelations.
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An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race -- and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer comes up with the answers, in a book that is vast, exhaustively researched, exhilarating, and sometimes appalling in its revelations.
Product Details
Paperback (1072 pages)
Published: June 1, 1993
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780679746492
Other books byRichard Ben Cramer
  • Joe DiMaggio

    Joe DiMaggio
    The Hero's Life
    Joe DiMaggio was, at every turn, one man we could look at who made us feel good. In the hard-knuckled thirties, he was the immigrant boy who made it big -- and spurred the New York Yankees to a new era of dynasty. He was Broadway Joe, the icon of elegance, the man who wooed and won Marilyn Monroe -- the most beautiful girl America could dream up. Joe DiMaggio was a mirror of our best self. And he was also the loneliest hero we ever had. In this groundbreaking biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer presents a shocking portrait of a complicated, enigmatic life. The story that DiMaggio never wanted told, tells of his grace -- and greed; his dignity, pride -- and hidden shame. It is a story that sweeps through the twentieth century, bringing to light not just America's national game, but the birth (and the price) of modern national celebrity.

    What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?

    What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?
    A Remembrance
    When legendary Red Sox hitter Ted Williams died on July 5, 2002, newspapers reviewed the stats, compared him to other legends of the game, and declared him the greatest hitter who ever lived. Richard Ben Cramer, Pulitzer Prize winner and acclaimed biographer of Joe DiMaggio, decodes this oversized icon who dominated the game and finds not just a great player, but also a great man. In 1986, Richard Ben Cramer spent months on a profile of Ted Williams, and the result was the Esquire article that has been acclaimed ever since as one of the finest pieces of sports reporting ever written. Given special acknowledgment in The Best American Sportswriting of the Century and adapted for a coffee-table book called Ted Williams: The Seasons of the Kid, the original piece is now available in this special edition, with new material about Williams's later years. While his decades after Fenway Park were out of the spotlight -- the way Ted preferred it -- they were arguably his richest, as he loved and inspired his family, his fans, the players, and the game itself. This is a remembrance for the ages.

    How Israel Lost

    How Israel Lost
    The Four Questions
    In How Israel Lost Richard Ben Cramer analyzes the four questions that have bedeviled Israel and Palestine for almost forty years: I. Why do we care about Israel? II. Why don¹t the Palestinians have a state? III. What is a Jewish state? IV. Why is there no peace? Cramer illustrates how Israel is losing her soul by maintaining her occupation of the lands conquered in the Six Day War. Israel has become a victim of that occupation no less than the Palestinians, who must have a nation of their own. Both his observations and argument are drawn with startling clarity, informed by the fierce and fearless reporting that won him the Pulitzer Prize for Middle East coverage.

    The Best American Sports Writing 2004

    The Best American Sports Writing 2004
    Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind. “Cracker-jack writing from some of the country’s best-known sports journalists.” — Publishers Weekly With Richard Ben Cramer at the helm, this year’s selections embrace the world of sports in all its drama, humanity, and excitement, from swimming the Arctic Ocean to high school football. Today’s foremost journalists shed light on Mia Hamm, Amare Stoudemire, and on sports’ underbelly as a professional baseball team scalps its own tickets and as women single-mindedly pursue million-dollar athletes. We witness the World Taxidermy Championships, the final days of the Michael Jordan Wizards, and much more.

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