The race for the White House in 1968 was a watershed event in American politics. In this brilliantly succinct narrative analysis, Lewis L. Gould shows how the events of that tumultuous year changed the way Americans felt about politics and their national leaders; how Republicans used the skills they brought to Richard Nixon's campaign to create a generation-long ascendancy in presidential politics; and how Democrats, divided and torn after 1968, emerged as only crippled challengers for the White House throughout most of the years until the early twenty-first century. Bitterness over racial issues and the Vietnam War that marked the 1968 election continued to shape national affairs and to rile American society for years afterward. And the election accelerated an erosion of confidence in American institutions that has not yet reached a conclusion. In his lucid account, now revised and updated, Mr. Gould emphasizes the importance of race as the campaign's key issue and examines the now infamous "October surprises" of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon as he describes the extraordinary events of what Eugene McCarthy later called the "Hard Year."
Lewis L. Gould is emeritus professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. His books include The Modern American Presidency; The Most Exclusive Club: A History of the Modern United States Senate; American First Ladies; and Grand Old Party: A History of the Republicans. He lives in Austin, Texas.