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The Last Campaign


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About the Author

Thurston Clarke has written eleven books of fiction and nonfiction, including "Pearl Harbor Ghosts" and "California Fault," a "New York Times" notable book. His articles have been published in "Vanity Fair," "Glamour," "The New York Times," and "The Washington Post." He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Willsboro, New York, with his wife and three daughters.


In this hagiographic narrative of Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 Democratic presidential primary campaign, RFK seems less a politician than a moral teacher. Hammering away at the immorality of poverty and racism, he confronted crowds with their own ethical culpability and, regarding the Vietnam War, reminding campus audiences of the unfairness of student draft deferments. Rapturous throngs of voters ate it up and propelled RFK to a string of victories. Clarke (Ask Not) positions Kennedy as a prototypical New Democrat who appealed to minorities and working-class whites alike by mixing liberalism with themes of law and order, free enterprise, jobs and local control. But in Clarke's telling, Kennedy's essence is spiritual rather than political; he is a Christ figure-- comforting sick children, utterly sincere in his beliefs and incapable of political pandering, haunted by forebodings of his assassination, his charisma "tactile and mystical... he had to let people see, touch, and commune with him." Clarke emphasizes the Kennedy campaign's contemporary resonance, but his book is more revealing as an iconic portrait of the passionate, turbulent zeitgeist of the 1960s. 8 pages of b&w photos. (June) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Clarke charts a campaign that embodied America's best hopes-and its worst -nightmares. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"A stunning, heartbreaking book, a reminder--which we badly need these days--of just how noble public life can be. Robert Kennedy's brief, passionate 1968 presidential campaign set a standard of courage and candor and sheer gorgeous language that is unlikely ever to be equaled. This is a book worthy of the man and that moment, an honorable and unforgettable piece of work. "The Last Campaign" should be required reading for anyone seeking public office, and for the rest of us, too."--Joe Klein

""The Last Campaign" is a great read, an evocative and engaging reminder of the glory and the tragedy of Bobby Kennedy's run for the presidency in 1968. Thurston Clarke's keen eye for the telling detail and his fast-paced narrative make "The Last Campaign" a must-have for any student of American politics."--Tom Brokaw

""The Last Campaign" is a triumphant look at Robert F. Kennedy's heartfelt plunge into the poverty underbelly of America. The reader can't help but be moved at how deeply Kennedy cared about the underclass. Thurston Clarke has written a smart political book which actually inspires."--Douglas Brinkley

""The Last Campaign" is a magnificent account of the final months in the life of a man who changed so many of us, and the brilliantly told story of a campaign that broke our hearts."--E.J. Dionne, author of "Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right "

"Tremendously moving....Clarke compellingly recreates this "huge, joyous adventure.."..Kennedy's gradual but determined evolution into a fearless, formidable, winning candidate makes stupendous reading. The hope he inspired....still proves instructive and pertinent, especially in this election year. Generous without being slavish, beautifully capturing Kennedy's passion and dignity."--Kirkus (starred review)

..".revealing as an iconic portrait of the passionate, turbulent zeitgeist of the 1960s."--"Publisher's Weekly"

"I'll be shocked if I read a more devastatingly beautiful book t

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