In 1920 six former or future presidents were in the race. It was the first year that women were allowed to vote. Democrats and Republicans tried to outspend and out-publicize one another, using newspapers and newsreels to get their message out, while barreling into the economy of the roaring ‘20s. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
It’s easy to get swept up in the current election cycle and its attendant outrages and clashes, and this year is no different. There’s so much more to read about the U.S. Presidents than staid official biographies. This booklist will provide you with multiple entries into the subject of elections, especially presidential ones, and the subject of voting in the United States.
It can be grounding and perhaps heartening to read about the turbulence surrounding previous presidential elections. If so, look at “1920: The Year of the Six Presidents” to get an idea of what was happening a century ago with the election, or “The Carnival Campaign: How the Rollicking 1840 Campaign of ‘Tippecanoe and Tyler Too’ Changed Presidential Elections Forever.”
If you have ever wondered how the primaries got their start, check out “Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of Presidential Primary.”
Rather go over the aftermath of other presidential races? We have “Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876” or “Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election.”
Getting lost in the minutiae of current electoral demographic analysis in the United States is a noble pursuit. Dive into “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority,” or try the social science-influenced “Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government.”
You could spend some time reacquainting yourself with the mechanics of presidential elections by perusing “Selecting a President: Fundamentals of American Government Series, Book 1.”
Forgotten the names and deeds of presidents themselves? We have “Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents,” and for the reader who has the basics down: “Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents: Strange Stories and Shocking Trivia From Inside the White House.”
Get a peek inside the office of the presidency when you read “The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency,” enjoy a view from the journalist’s seat in “The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America,” or find out what the architects of presidential campaigns and terms deal with in “Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide.”
If voting itself, is more your area of interest, check out Stacey Abrams’ “Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America,” or “Thank You for Voting: The Maddening, Enlightening, Inspiring Truth About Voting in America.”
For a closer look at types of voter disenfranchisement, we have “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” and “Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College.”
And if all this has made you really want to put yourself in the running for political office, read “Somebody’s Gotta Do It: Why Cursing at the News Won’t Save the Nation, But Your Name on a Local Ballot Can” and “Run for Something: A Real-Talk Guide to Fixing the System Yourself.”
Check out the CivicCLP page for more up-to-date information on voting and elections in Allegheny County and beyond, including links for voter registration and mail-in ballot applications. You can also sign up for customized text messages on a variety of civic topics from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. To opt in to these text messages, text CivicCLP to 22999. You will then receive a welcome email, and three to four text messages per month.
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Written by the founder of a social justice-centered political action committee, this book argues that politicians are focusing on the swing voters of yesteryear, when in reality they should be reaching out to people of color and progressive white voters. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby, as eBook on Hoopla or as eAudio on Hoopla.
The Carnival Campaign: How the Rollicking 1840 Campaign of “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” Changed Presidential Elections Forever
The 1840 contest between Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison involved many firsts, including campaign donations, cross-country tours and rallies, and creating “salt-of-the-earth” personas to appeal to the working-class voters. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby, as eBook on Hoopla or as eAudio on Hoopla.
A social-science driven look into how voters decide on their vote, how voting affects policy change, and what really drives the outcome of elections. You can also check out this title as eBook on Hoopla.
A populace tired of the scandals and corruption of the Grant administration gave Democratic Governor Samuel J. Tilden the popular vote, but contested results in three states led to Rutherford B. Hayes being awarded the Presidency by a Republican-led Electoral Commission. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
What does a President do and how do they keep it all organized? Provides a historical overview of presidential powers and analysis of what the personal requirements are for the job and how to make the presidency properly balanced by the other branches of government but more impactful. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.
In order to defeat the incumbent President, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt tried a different strategy to gain public support – the presidential primary. The 1912 campaign was full of backroom deals, racist strategy and general meanness, as researched from newly discovered documentation. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.
Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide
Image has been a deciding factor in the fate of presidential candidates for over a century – a well-timed photo op can make a campaign, while a poorly-thought out ride on a tank can sink a candidate’s chances. As someone who has worked in the optics of the presidency and presidential campaigns, King gives an in-depth look at presidential stagecraft. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby, as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.
As a candidate whose race was affected by voter suppression tactics, Abrams writes from a personal but well-researched perspective on how voters can work to ensure that their vote is counted, and be more civically engaged. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.
As a White House Correspondent for three presidencies, April Ryan has experienced a lot of history and interacted with a variety of political figures. Here she offers her insights and recounts her experiences. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
A collection of essays and advice on how to run for office and get involved in local politics and why you should do it. You can also check out this title as eAudio on Hoopla.
Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents: Strange Stories and Shocking Trivia From Inside the White House
Full of factoids that are tailor-made for conversation starters, O’Brien is concerned with the interesting but maybe not politically consequential goings on in the White House, such as the hobbies and bad habits of the Commanders-in-Chief and their spouses. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
A concise and readable guide to the electoral system and how it has evolved (or not) with society. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
Somebody’s Gotta Do It: Why Cursing at the News Won’t Save the Nation, But Your Name on a Local Ballot Can
The 2016 presidential election turned a resident of a small upstate New York town from an uninformed citizen to a candidate for County Board. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.
Geiger Smith examines how voting works today, how it came to be that way, the myths surrounding voting fraud, and how it can be made more accessible so more people participate in the voting process, among many other relevant topics. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby, as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on Hoopla.
The Supreme Court decision that gave George W. Bush the Presidency in 2000 was so much more than an issue of hanging chads. Toobin gives a nonpartisan look at what happened in the thirty-six days from the election to the decision. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.