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In The Making of the President 1972, the fourth volume of narrative history of American politics in action, Theodore H. White brings his defining quartet of campaign narratives to a surprising and riveting close. The consummate journalist, White chronicles both the Democratic and the Republican parties as they jockeyed for position toward the end of Richard M. Nixon’s turbulent first term. He illuminates the cinematic moments that shaped the campaign—the attempt on George Wallace’s life, Edmund Muskie crying in the snow in New Hampshire, the swift rise and fall of Tom Eagleton, and the ongoing anguish of Vietnam—leading inexorably to a second chaotic collapse among the Democrats and a landslide victory for Nixon. Yet even as the president’s highest ambitions were confirmed, White watches aghast as the “new Nixon” of 1968 is eclipsed by the corrupt Nixon of old—a Shakespearean conclusion to an astonishing political epoch.

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