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The Boys on the Bus

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,045 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Cheap booze. Flying fleshpots. Lack of sleep. Endless spin. Lying pols.

Just a few of the snares lying in wait for the reporters who covered the 1972 presidential election. Traveling with the press pack from the June primaries to the big night in November, Rolling Stone reporter Timothy Crouse hopscotched the country with both the Nixon and McGovern campaigns and witnessed t
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Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 12th 2003 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published November 1973)
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,045 ratings  ·  79 reviews


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Dany Burns
I really fascinating look at the journalists responsible for covering the 1972 campaign which ended with Nixon beating McGovern and then later stepping down from the presidency due to watergate. I don't know if I've mentioned this but I want to be a reporter some day and I also am a bit of a political junkie so being a political reporter would be a dream job. I will admit right now that this book could be boring to people if this is not a topic they are interested in but I love this kind of thin ...more
Matt
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rolling Stone reporters produced two epochal books documenting the 1972 presidential campaign: Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72" and Tim Crouse's "Boys on the Bus." I read this book while I was a totally green reporter -- as Crouse was in 1972 -- covering the 2008 McCain campaign and found myself relating completely. While it was a great read, it was a bit discouraging to find that Crouse already had every insight I was coming up with, precluding the need for me to ...more
Andrew
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Couldn't help draw some parallels to present day. I like reading about the press.
Kate
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in journalism, politics, or the 1970s
Recommended to Kate by: Mom
Shelves: favoritereads
I wasn't really looking forward to reading this book, as I thought it would be kind of a nostalgic, wasn't-everything-great back in the good old days of reporting kind of tale.

But this account of the reporters covering the 1972 Presidential primaries and general election is anything but.

Author Timothy Crouse gives a superior analysis of problems -- the shallowness of campaign reporting, how reporters are often not allowed to give any intelligent analysis at all, the forced "balancing" of issue s
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Elliot
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting to see the parallels between campaigns today and back in the 60s and 70s, even as some things have changed so much. That said, I don't think this book has aged particularly well since it assumes a very high level of knowledge about the people and events of the time and preceding years, much of which isn't common knowledge if you didn't live through those years yourself.
Tom Gase
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
My boss at work saw me reading "All the Presidents Men" and "Final Days" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein over the summer and thought I would like this book by Timothy Crouse, which details how the media, both print and television, but mostly print, covered the 1972 Presential Election. Gets very detailed, but never that slow except for a few chapters. Obviously the funniest parts seem to be with Hunter Thompson, but it's interesting to read about a younger Dan Rather and Connie Chung to name ...more
Jim
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An account of the reporters who covered the Presidential Election of 1972. I really enjoyed this book because it gave a honest, mostly unbiased account of the candidates (Nixon and McGovern) and turned the eyes of the press on themselves. I'm sure many of those journalist highlighted - David Broder, "Johnny" Apple, Robert Novak, Haynes Johnson and Hunter Thompson cringe at the honest, albeit gossipy candor in which they were portrayed (well maybe not Hunter S.). Though there are numerous people ...more
Nate Shelton
Dec 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Forget it; after 2 months and not making it more than halfway through this book (and repeatedly turning to lowbrow comic books to avoid reading it), I concede defeat. It's not that this is poorly written, it's just not particularly interesting to me -- and that's coming from a guy who loves the '70s.

I had high hopes for it going in, based largely on Hunter S. Thompson's strong recommendation (I believe he once called it the best book about political journalism he's ever read?). But it's time for
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Chris
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Extremely detailed account of the experience of covering the 1972 presidential election. When it came out, it was probably a revelation. Now, it's more of a period piece that confirms what we already know about the politics and partying that were part of the press culture in the Nixon era. Does contain interesting insight into which reporters commanded the most respect from the corps. Also a good primer as to the ways in which information management was evolving in the period.
Riley
May 31, 2010 rated it liked it
For being written in 1972, The Boys on the Bus did not seem like a dated campaign account at all. That says something since other standard political books of the time -- for instance The Selling of the Presidency, about Nixon's manipulation of television -- do show their age. One thing I kept thinking about...it seems ironic given today's vapid and understaffed media environment that someone would be bemoaning the state of the press as Watergate unfolded.
Bill Manzi
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A gift from my daughter which hung around a bit before I got to it and I am glad I did. As I was picking through it I saw the foreword by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, read that, and knew I was all in. Author Timothy Crouse covered the media who covered the 1972 presidential race between Richard Nixon and George McGovern, highlighting the changing media landscape in 1972, and offering his take on how the media did its job.

Some of the critiques I saw of the book mention that it may not have aged well
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Ryan Williams
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
More lucid take on the same presidential campaign covered in Hunter S. Thompson's justly admired (but unjustly more admired) Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. You tend to learn more about the 'drink palsied' journalists than about the campaign they were sent to cover however.
Katy Mcnabb
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting account of the '72 campaign but sad to see how little political journalism has progressed in the intervening 4 decades since this book was published.
Madhu
Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Excellent piece of reporting on an era when the print media actually meant something
Kevin Frisch
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it


Amazing, and a somewhat frightening, how little has changed in journalism, and politics, in the 40 years since this book was published. Entertaining and insightful.
Drew Martin
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
At the end of 2016 and 2017, I made a list of 10 books I wanted to read and own in the coming year. A few books appeared on both lists, one in particular I discovered while reading Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s brilliant Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72. Written by Thompson’s Rolling Stone colleague Timothy Crouse, the book in question is 1973’s The Boys on the Bus. I’m a HUGE Thompson fan. He’s my literary hero. After reading many references to Crouse, I had to read his book for myself. I ...more
Daniel Silliman
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book hasn't aged as well as I'd like--you need a lot of background knowledge--but this remains a classic, nonetheless. Crouse has a sharp eye and he can teach us to ask how the structure of political campaign shapes the reporting, how hidden incentives might be at play, and how those, in turn, shape our democracy.

This doesn't have the zing it did in '73, but still well worth reading to better understand how to think about how the media covers politics.
Peter
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best book I have read on Presidential campaigns, which is high praise as there as so many I have enjoyed.
Crouse was a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and Hunter S. Thompson’s book on this same 1972 campaign (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72) makes an amazing 1-2 punch with this. Crouse’s book is more down to Earth, nuts & bolts, while HST’s book is, well.... more inspired, shall we say.
Jim Bianco
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great non-fiction account of what it’s like to be covering political journalism in real time before the day of the interweb and citizen journalism. If you like this sort of thing it is a fast interesting read.
Bhaskar Sompalli
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A journalist's account of the general chaos surrounding political campaigns. Gives the reader an appreciation for the hard lives of the reporters, who cover the campaigns and how news/scandals broke in the pre-internet era of public phone booths.

Hilarious and sobering at the same time.
Michael Steeves
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The brilliant companion to "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail".
Tmittman
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Nixon approach to the discredit the press sounds all too familiar.
dusty.rhodes
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are all sorts of gems in this book, if you wade through all of the "behind-the-scenes" and "inside baseball" (both of which are often used as terms to describe "things which a 'general reader' will not sit for... which is odd because these are just the sorts of things I seek in books despite being the most general of readers) sections as well as the cameos from one Hunter S. Thomspon.

While this particular picture of the press on the campaign trail (and to a degree in the White House) is an
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Troy Hill
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An instant classic. "Boys" is a capstone to wave one of long-form political writing, which occurred in the latter half of the 20th century. The narrative is both fun and entertaining, while shining a journalistic light into the dark and dusty corners of the national media on the campaign trail.

The best way to read this work is hand in hand with Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. Between the two, there is a lot of truth. In "Boys" the truth is presented in classic l
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Peter Landau
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My first political memory was the presidential campaign of 1972. Though I do recall Bobby Kennedy's funeral, his coffin covered by the American flag, preempting my regular cartoon programming, it was the Nixon-McGovern battle that marked my civic awaking. My family are old-school democrats and I used to wear a McGovern for President button, but one of my friend's parents were divided along party lines, with competing campaign posters angling for space on this basement walls.

This is just to say
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Jack
May 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Another rare reread for me. The companion piece to Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 (Thompson and Crouse were both covering the '72 race for Rolling Stone), Crouse provides an insight into the sociology of journalism more than thirty years ago that's still eerily relevant today. Part of it might be that Nixon-McGovern and McCain-Obama contain similar undertones of establishmentarian conservatism versus youthfully energetic reformism; although I gleefully admit that M ...more
Cory
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
There are surprisingly few great books about presidential campaigns. There should be more; we experience politics in daily micro-bits, but it's really the long-term trends and patterns that determine what happens. Hopefully, our era will one day produce a campaign book as magnificently insightful, hilarious, and damning as this one, which is an account of the reporters covering the 1972 presidential campaign.

What really is astonishing is how little has changed; for example, look at his critique
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Brian
This book could almost be considered a companion piece to Hunter S Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72". Call it "Fear and Loathing in the Press Room". While the good doctor was writing about the candidates, Crouse (also working for Rolling Stone) was writing about the drinking, drugging, bitching, camp-following press who were crammed into the overcrowded second bus or the overstuffed Zoo plane. Most of these guys (mostly--there are a couple of talented and well-shat upon la ...more
Bart
Oct 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is every good thing that reviewers originally wrote about it. Some of it is dated, forty years later, sure, but the general idea of pack journalism is alive today as it ever was.

The funniest parts of The Boys on the Bus probably belong to Hunter S. Thompson, Timothy Crouse's coworker at Rolling Stone, but that should surprise no one. In some ways, this book is a making-of account of Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail from 1972.

The book's funniest line, too, belongs to T
...more
Chloe
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
this book is about the campaign press corps for the '72 election - and is a great companion read to hunter thompson's "fear and loathing on the campaign trail of '72" which i read a couple year ago.

as i read this book i found myself wondering if it was unproductive to be spending so much time learning the details of the '72 campaign when i surely know far less details about the '08 campaign...but just as soon as i would have this thought i would equally notice the overarching, relevant issues di
...more
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