What it Takes: The Way to the White House

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1992 - Political Science - 1051 pages
44 Reviews
An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race -- and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer comes up with the answers, in a book that is vast, exhaustively researched, exhilarating, and sometimes appalling in its revelations.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: What It Takes: The Way to the White House

User Review  - Goodreads

For political junkies, this book would probably be an instant favorite. For people just interested in learning more about politics, it is long and detailed but does tell a compelling story. By closely ... Read full review

Review: What It Takes: The Way to the White House

User Review  - Kevin - Goodreads

Well, it's pretty amazing (1,047 pages of amazing, though). It's highly readable and does a fantastic job of depicting the interplay between presidential candidates, the media, and the public. The ... Read full review


The Price of Being Poppy 3
The Other Thing
Flyin Around

90 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1992)

Richard Ben Cramer was born in Rochester, New York on June 12, 1950. He received a bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University and studied at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He worked at The Baltimore Sun before joining The Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1970s. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his coverage of the Middle East as a correspondent. He later wrote for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Esquire. His first book, What It Takes: The Way to the White House, was published in 1992 and examined the 1988 presidential campaign. His other works include DiMaggio: The Hero's Life, What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?, and How Israel Lost: The Four Questions. He died from complications of lung cancer on January 7, 2013 at the age of 62. At his death he was working on a book about Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees.

Bibliographic information