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Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election
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Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  256 ratings  ·  35 reviews
From the best-selling author of A Vast Conspiracy and The Run of His Life comes Too Close to Call--the definitive story of the Bush-Gore presidential recount. A political and legal analyst of unparalleled journalistic skill, Jeffrey Toobin is the ideal writer to distill the events of the thirty-six anxiety-filled days that culminated in one of the most stunning Supreme Cou ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 8th 2002 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2001)
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Philip

"The votes of Florida have been counted. They have been recounted. And tonight they have been certified."
-George Bush



In college, I remember reading and hearing a little bit about the Florida recount, thinking it was bizarre, and moving on.

Not surprisingly, the story is bizarre. Not bizarre in the "they stole the election kind of way" - although I felt more sympathetic to those people after reading the book.

The book looks at the differing approaches of the Republicans and the Democrats to the re
...more
Ben
I've somehow managed to make it through most of my life without fully understanding the dispute over the 2000 election. Gore won more votes, the Supreme Court stopped the recount, and that was about it for my knowledge. How fortunate I was.

Toobin jams the events, with the occasional recap, into a 300 pages which he could have easily exceeded. He portrays a spineless, unmotivated, aloof Gore campaign up against a hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners Bush team led by James Baker. The way the battle's eve
...more
Janet
While I was well-aware of all the general information in this saga, I learned many more details.Very good at filling in the personalities and political leanings of all the players.Very fast-paced book.
Rebecca
This was a great recap of the 2000 Presidential election, one of two important U.S. events that happened while I was out of the country. I finally feel like I know what was going on!
Andrew Georgiadis
I reread this recently in anticipation of shenanigans and a scare somewhere with the recent 2008 election. It is absolutely fascinating. Jeff Toobin makes the ins and outs of archaic Florida election law accessible to even the most amateur reader of law (read: me) and the resulting material is tremendously compelling. The disgusting advantages afforded to each side on a daily basis; the tenuous connection that Dems and the GOP had on winning the battle to recount the votes; Gore's meekness in fi ...more
David
As the saga reaches its climax (and as his story approaches its conclusion) Toobin's bias becomes increasingly difficult to ignore or mitigate. His tone starts balanced and reasonably fair, but becomes increasingly shrill and mean-spirited. Hard to concentrate on getting through the story without that needless distraction. He undermines his case by taking the swipes at Republican efforts and excusing Democrats.
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Nine" and was really looking forward to his interpretation o
...more
Paul
Toobin’s analysis of the battle over the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida exposes any number of faults in the American democratic process. Ordinarily, the will of the electorate is fairly clear, and these faults do not effect the outcome of an election. In the extrordinarily close election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, however, our imperfect system ground to a near halt and left us with an outcome that in all likelihood did not express the will of the voters.

At the most basic
...more
Brian
I did enjoy this book to a very high level. Not only did it contain insight on the election before it happened, in very detailed manner, it also showed the effects post-election. This election had a very significant impact on the United States, and it challenged the Judiciary system and the courts, and tested the integrity of both candidates. Both Bush and Gore had to exemplify patience to a high level and maintain their equanimity in a very stressful situation. The author, Jeffery Toobin, had g ...more
Jack
While this book sounds like a dry factual account - and it contains as much information as I would expect from a good one - it's also suprisingly emotionally effective. It's hard to discern to what extent that derives from Toobin's prose and analysis and to what extent it derives from the memories the topic recalls, but either way it's an impressive feat. It is, for better or worse, like reliving the tension, exasperation, and disappointment five weeks following the 2000 election.

The dynamics a
...more
Ryan
An in-depth account of the 2000 Florida recount by CNN's chief legal analyst. Toobin, who was in Florida covering the recount, tells the behind-the-scenes tale of the month-long battle, and explains the legal and political processes involved.

In Toobin's account, Bush had several key advantages during the recount battle:
1. Bush had started off in the lead after election night, and thus carried a public imprimatur that few judges or election officials dared to challenge.
2. The Republicans were abl
...more
Sam
Devastating and riveting, Toobin walks through doors closed to most and reports back the breaking of an election. Among other things, it's interesting to read this sliver of history with more than ten year's remove. John G. Roberts and Sandra Day O'Conner both find themselves in dramatically different places professionally and in relation to the recount. O'Conner's comments at the time strike especially harshly given her ultimate assessment of the Bush Administration.
David
We all might want to forget that it ever happened -- not only the election that the U.S. Supreme Court superseded but also the whole George W. Bush presidency that followed. That would be unwise. Reading Toobin's book 10 years after the historic episode you can see how the principles (or lack of them) of the Bush administration and Republicans were in operation even before day one, e.g., win at all costs, no compromising or bipartisanship.

Gore comes out looking high-principled but uninspiring as
...more
Joshua Taylor
Toobin has become one of the most recognized legal writers over the past 10 years, so when I saw this earlier effort of his covering the 2000 election I decided to give it a read. While it was an interesting read that brought back many memories, I would have prefered a bit more clarity in some of the blow-by-blow descriptions of what was happening. I'm sure things were truncated just for space - the book comes in at at a bit under 300 pages and is a quick read, perfect for a mass-market effort. ...more
Bethany
This book is exactly what it appears to be, a comprehensive account of the post-Election Day balloting and recounting debacle in Florida in 2000. Jeffrey Toobin is a fantastic writer, and this book is very readable. Like in his other fabulous book The Nine, on the Supreme Court, his bias is clear, but he is mostly fair and fun to read. His central point is that Al Gore should have won the election, but he failed to go all-out in the post-election wrangling. His team was tentative, divided, and r ...more
Phillip
I think I have waaay too many books on my shelf about the 2000 presidential election recount, so this book pales in comparison to other books I have. However -- don't get me wrong, this is a good book that sets forth what both sides had to deal with and does a good job explaining all the court cases and legal issues. The author has an interesting thesis about the competing ideologies (not political) of the Bush and Gore sides, and how they predicted which party would be victorious in the recount ...more
Kira
Wow...more than I ever wanted to know about that 2000 presidential election. This book was surprisingly addictive and engaging. I found it easy to read for hours and it was very insightful into what exactly took so long to decide that election. I know Gore didn't want to look like a sore loser, but seriously, that's exactly how it played out. Not that the two men were the best candidates, this has nothing to do with what party is right and what party is wrong, it's just a good look at how issues ...more
Anne Van
I really hesitated to open this book......after eight years of agony, could I bear it? Plus, not exactly news.

Wellll, the book is astonishing. The writing is so engaging, it reads almost like a thriller, what will happen next?? I watched the whole circus on C-SPAN pretty obsessively, but here's all the inside dope.

And, actually, still timely about the nature of Democrats (the party of process) and Republicans (the party of results at any cost).
Margali
Interesting, but not nearly as enthralling as Game Change.
John Hodge
This book is a fact-based analysis of the 2000 presidential election. It helps us understand why, as Toobin puts it at the end, the outcome was "a crime against democracy." The analysis makes the reader wonder, "What would prevent it from happening again?" Thus, since the answer is uncertain and the 2012 election is approaching, the book is still quite relevant.
Josh
I remain a total sucker for Toobin.

This treatment of a chapter in US history that everyone wants to forget was enthralling. He did beat his thesis--that the Democrats fought the noble fight...which led to a Republican victory--into the ground a bit. That said, he makes a winning argument without having to resort to ignoble tactics...
Angie
Jun 18, 2008 Angie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who want to know more about the 2000 US Presidential Election
Recommended to Angie by: John Lewis
I found this book very revealing of the situation & events surrounding the disputed 2000 US Presidential Election. It seemed to llok at the election from all sides, though I'd say it is more sympathetic to the Gore camp. I would totally recomend this for anyone who wants to have a better idea of how George W. Bush became our President.
Anthony Taylor
A good and interesting account of the US presidential race in 2000. Covers all the key issues in considerable depth and as a result it proves a little dry in places; that said, if you have the slightest interest in politics or legal processes this book will appeal.
Tim
I'm not sure the narrative Toobin suggests - the Bush team was ruthless, the Gore team was overly concerned with process and procedural fairness - was as clean as Toobin suggests, but the story of Florida is still compelling, even a decade removed.
Mary
Good account of the 2000 election. Just as painful to read as it was to go through it here in Florida. My rating may reflect that pain and not be as accurate as it could be. Lets hope we never go through that again.
zltg
Toobin has a talent to produce gripping drama and to offer precise analysis of complex issues. The epic battle is depicted with excellent story-telling skills and clarity (and fairness in my opinion).
john v
Oct 24, 2007 john v rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: politcal people who are behind the times
Pretty good account of the court battles, but a bit partisan. Well, I can't tell if it's partisanship or that Bush & co are just assholes from an objective point of view.
Paul Shafranski
Jul 18, 2011 Paul Shafranski marked it as to-read
I've started this book so many times. I enjoy Toobin's books, but even after over ten years, I still can't get over it. Might need to wait for twenty to start it....
Nancy Ward
Toobin is a terrific story teller, and this one is as chilling to read about now as it was to live through then. Heaven help us that we haven't changed anything...
B
Toobin tells a good legal story, and there were more strange elements to this sad tale than you can count. Florida was a mess.
Meg Petersen
Depressing, but important. It was well-written. I would have found it amazing if I hadn't known how it would all end badly.
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Lawyer, author, legal correspondent for CNN and The New Yorker magazine.
More about Jeffrey Toobin...
The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court The Oath: The Obama White House and The Supreme Court The Run of His Life : The People versus O. J. Simpson The Best American Crime Reporting 2009 A   Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President

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