Featured Guest Theresa Amato & Nicholas Thompson PDF  | Print |
America's Best Selling Authors
Friday, 18 December 2009 17:00


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Theresa AmatoGrand Illusion: The Myth  of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny Theresa Amato
Author of Grand Illusion: The Myth
of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
Nicholas Thompson The Hawk and the Dove:  Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the  History of the Cold War Nicholas Thompson
Author of The Hawk and the Dove:
Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the
History of the Cold War


Theresa Amato was the national campaign manager for Ralph Nader’s historic runs for president in 2000 and 2004, which gave here a rare ringside role in two of the most hotly contested presidential elections this country has seen. In Grand Illusion, she gives us a witty, thoughtful critique of the American electoral system, as well as a powerful argument for opening up the contest as if people and their daily lives mattered. While making the case for specific reforms in the United States’ arcane system of ballot access laws, complex federal regulations, and partisan control of elections, Theresa also offers a spirited history of how third-party and Independent candidates have kept important issues on the table in elections past and contribute to our country’s political life. Even the most fervent Nader critics will think twice about Nader’s role in 2000, thanks to Theresa’s trenchant factual analysis. Looking beyond the Nader story to campaigns waged by challengers John Anderson, Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and others, Theresa shows how limiting ourselves to two candidates deprives our country of a robust political life, strips would-be contenders of their free speech and association rights, and cheats voters out of meaningful political choices.

Nicholas Thompson is a senior editor at Wired Magazine and the author of “The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War.” Only two Americans held positions of great influence throughout the Cold War; ironically, they were the chief advocates for the opposing strategies for winning—and surviving—that harrowing conflict. Both men came to power during World War II, reached their professional peaks during the Cold War’s most frightening moments, and fought epic political battles that spanned decades. Yet despite their very different views, Paul Nitze and George Kennan dined together, attended the weddings of each other’s children, and remained good friends all their lives.

In this masterly double biography, Nick brings Nitze and Kennan to vivid life. Nitze—the hawk—was a consummate insider who believed that the best way to avoid a nuclear clash was to prepare to win one. More than any other American, he was responsible for the arms race. Kennan—the dove—was a diplomat turned academic whose famous “X article” persuasively argued that we should contain the Soviet Union while waiting for it to collapse from within. For forty years, he exercised more influence on foreign affairs than any other private citizen. As he weaves a fascinating narrative that follows Nick accomplishes something remarkable: he tells the story of our nation during the most dangerous half century in history.

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Theresa Amato

Nicholas Thompson



Last Updated on Monday, 02 January 2012 20:00