Pivotal Tuesdays

  • by Margaret O'Mara
  • Narrated by James Killavey
  • 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

No matter how frustrated or disinterested voters might be about politics and government, every four years, on the first Tuesday in November, the attention of the nation - and the world - focuses on the candidates, the contest, and the issues. The partisan election process has been a way for a messy, jumbled, raucous nation to come together as a slightly-more-perfect union.
Pivotal Tuesdays looks back at four pivotal presidential elections of the past 100 years to show how they shaped the 20th century. During the rowdy, four-way race in 1912 between Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Eugene Debs, and Woodrow Wilson, the candidates grappled with the tremendous changes of industrial capitalism and how best to respond to them. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt's promises to give Americans a "New Deal" to combat the Great Depression helped him beat the beleaguered incumbent, Herbert Hoover. The dramatic and tragic campaign of 1968 that saw the election of Richard Nixon reflected an America divided by race, region, and war and set in motion political dynamics that persisted into the book's final story - the three-way race that led to Bill Clinton's 1992 victory.
Exploring the personalities, critical moments, and surprises of these races, Margaret O'Mara shows how and why candidates won or lost and examines the effects these campaigns had on the presidencies that followed.
The book is published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

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What the Critics Say

"A completely captivating read.... Just a delicious book, written by an authoritative historian and brilliant narrator." (Anne Kornblut, Washington Post)
"Pivotal Tuesdays is a substantial achievement-a trenchant, balanced explication of the major shifts in twentieth-century presidential politics-and a ripping good read-clear, wry, beautifully written." (Bruce Schulman, Boston University)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Important book...especially this year.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Shows how important it is to vote. And the ins and outs of the campaigns were fascinating.


What about James Killavey’s performance did you like?

Nice voice. Good pacing. Intelligent reading.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Quite a few, actually.


Any additional comments?

This quote about the print copy was what got me looking for the audio:
"Four presidents are on the cover of this book, but the elections in between are covered quite thoroughly as well. It's honestly kind of shocking to realize how many times the majority has voted for a certain candidate only because the other option was so unfavorable. As I'm writing this review, the general 2016 election hasn't yet started, and Clinton and Trump are to be the two candidates. As I read this book, I couldn't help but make similarities between this election and others in history, even though this election year already seems so strange."

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- Jim

Captivating...and chilling

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

To many friends. Election coming up and this book could make a difference. Just listen to the sample to see what I mean.


What did you like best about this story?

Made history come alive. Fascinating and very well written.


Have you listened to any of James Killavey’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I think so..don't recall what titles, though. Good voice for this book.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Very beginning about qualifications for President. This part is actually in the sample


Any additional comments?

Another Pivotal Tuesday coming up in November. I hope God Americans have the sense to pick a qualified person, not an egomaniac, or the pivot for the county could be straight down!

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- Peter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-04-2016
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks