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85 Days: The Last Campaign of Robert Kennedy

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The “definitive account” (Washington Post) of Robert F. Kennedy’s seminal presidential campaign.

85 Daysis veteran Washington journalist Jules Witcover’s masterpiece of political reportage. It brilliantly captures a lost moment in time when the politics of conviction seemed to converge with America’s youth movement in opposition to the Vietnam War. At its center was the cha
Paperback, 365 pages
Published April 1st 1988 by Quill
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Jordan Gehrke
Jun 30, 2015 Jordan Gehrke rated it really liked it
I found this by accident in an old bookstore. It was interesting to read this right after finishing "passage of power" by Robert Caro which also has an exhaustive account of JFK's assassination and then the subsequent years of dislike between LBJ and RFK.

This book was written in 1969, just a year after RFK's death. It doesn't have the thousands of hours of interviews and research of some other biographies you might read, but what it does have is a very personal account of what it was like to be
Ronald Wise
Jul 24, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it really liked it
This account of Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign and death in 1968 is far more detailed than any others I have read. It is also a very informative analysis of the social turmoil and the Democratic political landscape during that election. The chronology begins in January of that year, as the Senator began to be prodded by the media about a potential challenge to incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson. Much of author Jules Witcover's material comes from his personal observations from when ...more
John Cooper
Oct 27, 2013 John Cooper rated it really liked it
Written the year after RFK's murder, this is a reserved, considered, but still sometimes raw account of Kennedy's short run for the presidency. The author accompanied Kennedy's campaign in the days when the press could get much closer to the candidate than it can now, and the book benefits a great deal from that close access. Those like me who are too young to have formed an impression of Robert Kennedy during his life can get a real sense of the man here.

The first three-quarters of the book is
Jan 25, 2014 B rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, westend
This is a painful book to read. It's like if they made a three-hour movie about the Titanic. Bobby just gets closer and closer to the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel.

Witcover, although he writes about his worries that he might be in the tank for RFK, is totally in the tank for RFK. RFK's only flaw is that he did not run for president soon enough. Well, there are a couple of times Witcover believes he patronizes Native Americans and Hispanic Americans. But it's clear Witcover sees a Christlike s
Mar 02, 2008 Donohue rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: history dorks
Robert Kennedy immediately became of of my favorite Americans after reading this book. The energy, effort and inspiration that he was able to collectively channel during his bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination was amazing to read about. The what ifs that surround his assassination may be greater than those surrounding his Presidential brother. What if he had won the nomination? What if he had become President? What could he have accomplished? This book is incredibly detailed when reco ...more
G.H. Monroe
Jan 31, 2012 G.H. Monroe rated it it was amazing
This book focused (obviously, by the title) on Robert Kennedy's last campaign. The book went into the political wheelings and dealings that went on during those years. It went into how personalities affected the political decisions of the day and how the smallest decisions had the greatest impact on political calculations of the day. It was both a wonderful & a terrible read. Wonderful for it's enlightening nature and terrible because it gave me wounds that I was too young to have at the tim ...more
Jul 30, 2007 Martha rated it really liked it
Shelves: marthasbooks
Author Jules Witcover was a newsman assigned to cover RFK's presidential campaign. Witcover was not a fan of RFK when the assignment began, but by its tragic end, he had come to believe in RFK. This book is a fabulous run along a campaign trail bursting with youth and energy and ideals - and also provides quieter, more reflective moment with the Bobby Kennedy who became so connected to suffering and poor people throughout this country. Even if you do not believe (as I do) that Kennedy was a rare ...more
Chris Schaffer
Jan 07, 2015 Chris Schaffer rated it really liked it
Shelves: famous-people
Great great great read. Couldn't put it down. A very well paced book that takes you through the agonizing decision RFK made to run and then takes you through the 85 days from the first days on the campaign trail, primaries, stump speeches throughout the country, to the last days in Los Angeles and finally the funeral in New York and funeral train to Arlington. Wish I had known about this book sooner. Schlesinger's book is exhaustive and covers his whole life. Evan Thomas's is good too but feels ...more
May 11, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
I read this when it first came out (1969?). Still brilliant and powerful.
Jan 12, 2009 JRB rated it really liked it
From a front row seat, Witcover wrote the best book specifically focusing on Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign.
Feb 17, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 1988 when it came out and still consider it a very authoritative look at the RFK presidential bid. Whitcover knew the right players to this story.
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