From the host of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, an account of "the presidential election that changed everything," the tumultuous race that created American politics as we know it today.
O’Donnell masterfully documents the election’s subsequent events, such as Bobby Kennedy’s belated decision to run, his assassination after the California primary, the violence that marred the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and Vice President and former Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey’s last-minute entry as the Democrats’ establishment candidate ... Political junkies may already know much of the material here. But Playing With Fire is nonetheless a beautifully written account of an election that established strategies that, for better and worse, are still in use today.
The election of 1968 decided one thing: that Richard M. Nixon and not Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey would become president. It left nearly everything else unresolved ... Lawrence O’Donnell, the host of a political talk show on MSNBC, tells that story with zeal in Playing With Fire ... knows how to pace a story, and could not have dreamed up a more compelling cast of characters ...moves briskly and ably through these candidacies, their collisions and a dark bacchanal of events that still defies belief... O’Donnell’s own observations frequently recall the tossed-off hyperboles of cable news ... This is the voice of the pundit, and in a work of history it sounds jarring — all the more so when it’s discussing Donald Trump, as O’Donnell does repeatedly.
O'Donnell isn't interested in pat, received narratives or easy answers to complex questions. This makes him an ideal narrator for the events of 1968, which run together to form a kind of nightmare scenario for the American psyche ... O'Donnell draws moving portraits of all the major figures ... O'Donnell shines a sharp light on the year that may well have been the key fracture point, the moment when the path diverged. Even if our present political world didn't feel so apocalyptic, the book would still be essential reading.