Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review--Campaigning for President

Wright, Jordan M. Campaigning for President: Memorabilia From the Nation's Finest Private Collection. Smithsonian Books, New York, New York, 2008. 291 pages, color photos. ISBN 9780061233951. $35.

Every four years we go through the sometimes laborious process of electing a President. In addition to all the name calling, fund raising, campaigning, baby kissing, hand shaking, lying, truth stretching, and other nonsense comes an interesting aspect of the process: the memorabilia created along the way. We've all seen, and many of us worn, a "Vote for ...." button. Buttons are the most common item but author and collector Jordan M. Wright has taken it to a whole new level.

Wright began collecting political memorabilia as a boy by stopping at a Robert Kennedy for President headquarters. He would pick up the new buttons that were available each week. He even had the honor of meeting Kennedy at one point. Wright figured if the Kennedy campaign was giving away buttons, posters, stickers and more the other candidates such as McCarthy, Humphrey, and Nixon must be doing the same. So began the journey of a collector, future author, and dreamer who hopes to open the Museum of Democracy one day.

Wright has written a hugely interesting book. While mostly visual there is plenty to learn here and each election includes a brief overview. What you will mostly find here are interesting photos showcasing some of the most important and unusual items from Wright's collection. If you are looking for a price guide you should look elsewhere. Valuations are not addressed in this book.

From the exceedingly rare like the Abraham Lincoln for President flag that has his name spelled Abram, to the downright unusual like George Bush cigarettes to the plain weird like the Amy Carter at the White House play set you will find it here. If you are interested in politics at all you owe it to yourself to check out this fascinating book. It doesn't matter what your leanings are you'll find something interesting and possibly something against your nemesis. Being issued in 2007 there the last election covered is Bush/Kerry.

As an FYI I found my copy at a local Big Lots for the bargin price of $5.

Campaigning for President

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