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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  346 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Michael Lewis is a master at dissecting the absurd: after skewering Wall Street in his national bestseller Liar's Poker, he packed his mighty pen and set out on the 1996 campaign trail. As he follows the men who aspire to the Oval Office, Lewis discovers an absurd mix of bravery and backpedaling, heroic possibility and mealy-mouthed sound bytes, and a process so ridiculous ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published July 28th 1998 by Vintage (first published May 27th 1997)
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Jesse Decker
THIS is why I’m a Michael Lewis fan. The book follows the 1996 presidential campaign trail from an unusual slant; although assigned to cover the campaign, Lewis constantly finds that there’s nothing interesting going on with the frontrunners, so he spends time getting to know the candidates who have no chance of winning. I left more highlights and notes in this book than in any other that I’ve read on the Kindle. Losers blends top-notch writing, a strange slant on political insight, and . All al ...more
Greg Brown
Wow, I remembered this book being far better than it actually was. Theoretically a hilarious look at the losing candidates in the 1996 presidential election, it ends up being just a basket of anecdotes and quick character sketches. No arcs, but an anti-arc carving out the whitespace around Clinton's march to re-election.

I originally read it during the '08 presidential election, and I think my enjoyment then was at discovering that Keyes was just as ridiculous in 1996 as he was in 2004 and 2008.
It's not Fear and Loathing and the election it covers is among the most insignificant in our country's history, but Lewis is a great writer and there's a lot in here that I really enjoyed. It was kind of refreshing to read about our not-so-distant past where Pat Buchanan was the most marginal candidate that the Republicans considered nominating. The truly prescient part was where professional nut-case Alan Keyes, with a platform very similar to Michele Bachmann's, said that he wasn't running to ...more
Yeah, Michael Lewis is great.

So, this is Michael Lewis' look at the 1996 election via the Republican primaries, some of the minor candidates, and a little Clinton.

Lewis isn't a political writer, and this doesn't have a lot of political theory in it - more campaigning theory, and strikingly non-partisan.

I found out about this book by listening to old episodes of This American Life, and loving Lewis' Moneyball. This wasn't quite the pageturner that I found Moneyball to be, but for a book about a 1
Nick Black
I'd likely have enjoyed this a good bit more if (a) I didn't think Michael Lewis was so freakishly awesome and (b) I hadn't read DFW's truly outstanding essay, "Up, Simba" (from Consider the Lobster). Comes off kind of mean-spirited, supercilious and unsure of itself.

NB: This was authored before Lewis married MTV VJ (and fantasy of my adolescence, well one anyway) Tabitha Soren, at least going by the omitted shout-out in the ACKs, but he does mention friend "Tabitha Sornberger", who "read and im
Rowland Hill
Michael Lewis is a wonderful observer and commentator on life. I bought his first book, Liar's Poker, as I was working in the City at the time and found it hilarious. Losers, being about the losing candidates in the 1996 US elections is probably the least accessible to a UK reader but Michael Lewis still manages to make the subject interesting and entertaining.
Ankur Maniar
Anybody other than Michael Lewis and this book would have been a complete drag. Its Lewis's writing style combined with his extraordinary wit and knack of seeing through things which has made this book entertaining. Its essentially a diary,not a book with structured narrative. His travels, experiences and interviews with politicians during the 1996 presidential elections have been described in this book. Sure, for an American citizen and keen follower of American politics it would be a more usef ...more
A great look at the 1996 election that left me with the distinct impression that the candidates were the least interesting part of it. I would be fascinated by the same book about the most recent election.

Lewis - who is NOT a Republican - reminded me that the McCain who ran in 2008 was not the same one I liked. I could have voted for the one I liked and the one Lewis liked. McCain wanted to be president too much by 2008 and let the 'rented strangers' do what they did to Dole...who I also didn't
Jackie Harrison-jewell
Michael Lewis is currently making a big name for himself writing books about money. Moneyball, The Big Short and, most recently, Boomerang. All good stuff. REALLY good stuff. This book, Trail Fever, is about the 1996 presidential campaign, and I was absolutely captivated by it. His campaign trail anecdotes had me laughing out loud at times, and his depiction of the raft of Republican candidates for the position which would eventually go to Bob Dole as the Republican challenger to Clinton's secon ...more
This is an account of the 1996 election, written by a non-political writer who is decidedly outside of, and disenchanted by, the normal political reporting process. He shows how normal behavior is lampooned as weird by the same media and political system that ignores some of the strangest, unnatural habits imaginable.

In a way it's very similar to the Joan Didion book, Political Fictions, but he's more funny and witty, and less dense and depressing. Didion tends to be hated by anyone under the a
Quick review: This is a book I read several years ago for book club and so I don’t remember all that much but it’s part of my series of reviews that are more impressionistic (and based on my faulty memory). I loved this book because A) I chose it for book club so I’m self-interested; B) I like politics; C) this guy has a great eye for the absurd and then flawlessly describing what makes it absurd. He knows how to use the English language and does a great job of describing scenes the candidates a ...more
Anne Ward
1996 elections had some interesting characters and that is all this book has to offer--interesting characters. Lewis becomes fascinated with "The Grizz" and seems to lose his point of view for the book, which reads like a character sketch. The book makes a half-hearted attempt to make a statement about American politics as a whole, but Lewis gets so caught up in "The Grizz" that the book settles into a no-mans land between a political read and a character sketch.

Two stars: I expect more from Mi
An interesting account of the 1996 Republican Primary followed by Presidential election. Michael Lewis acknowledges the common critisms of the modern political campaign, but attacks the system but not the participants. The novel does not provide any radical or original fixes to the current political problems of America. However, it does provide an illuminating inside account that is less cynical than that of many political journalists.
I love everything Michael Lewis writes and am slowly reading everything he has written. This is a thoroughly entertaining review of the incredibly boring 1996 Clinton-Dole presidential election, and reminded me so much of 2012 Obama-Romney.

Lewis has an easy-to-read style and a keen insight for the interesting things in life. He brings out the funny and entertaining in life and is honest and uncompromising though never rude.
Passages from this will probably feature prominently in any sweeping biographies of John McCain yet to come, in terms of explaining how he came to be so respected and admired by liberals, apolitical people and other non-right wingers before 2008.
an excellent book, particularly in retrospect, from this election year... in some ways, it captures much of what is wrong with American politics specifically, campaigns.

And if you ever wondered how & why John McCain disappeared in the 2008 election, you'll find the answer here
Read this, including the followup/postscript. It was slightly easier to put the book down than other Michael Lewis books, but still fantastic. He paints McCain in a new light for me.
Solid presidential campaign reportage from 1996 campaign, ala Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. Losers are much more interesting than the winners, and there were some interesting parallels to the 2012 race.
Feb 17, 2008 Nancy added it
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Not Lewis' best work, but certainly funny and quotable. It brought out the cynic in me, thanks to his snarky comments about the real politicians.
This might have been interesting when it was written, but feels very dated now. Too bad - I think Michael Lewis is a very good writer.
Great story about presidential elections. Equal parts hilarious, insightful and depressing.
Surprised, didn't like it and gave up. Highly enjoy Michael Lewis other work.
Tom Armstrong
Great behind the scenes look at the 1996 GOP primary.
Quite the time capsule.
a political gossip magazine.
Adam marked it as to-read
May 28, 2015
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Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

His latest book, Flash Boys, was published on March 31, 2014.
More about Michael Lewis...
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game Liar's Poker Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

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