I don’t recall whether it was a college professor or a friend who recommended the Lubell book to me in the early 1960’s. I didn’t know that it had won the distinguished Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the best book on government and democracy in 1952.
However, after nearly 50 years, I still recall the insight that the thin book gave to me as I later read book, newspaper, and magazine articles on politics and current events. Lubell had been surprised by the unexpected Harry Truman re-election win in 1948. His path-finding book recounts his investigation to learn how Truman won and, just as importantly, why Thomas Dewey (the overwhelming favorite of the professionals) had lost the election.
Many generations of news analysts, pollsters, political professionals, college students, and the general public who have an interest in politics are indebted to Samuel Lubell for his insightful work, which influences writers and readers to this day. The 1952 volume is not dated and still can be read for its great analysis of what happened in a monumantal, never-to-be-forgotten Presidential race.
Reviewed by: Ernest J. Webby, Jr., Reference Librarian (PT), Newton Free Library
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