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Kerwin's Books

The King Whisperers: Power Behind the Throne from Rasputin to Rove

Throughout recorded history, behind so many of the world's greatest rulers, there can often be found a shadowy puppetmaster pulling the strings and orchestrating events. Using examples from Machiavelli, Catherine de Medici and Alexander Hamilton to Zhou Enlai, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and Dick Cheney, Kerwin Swint details the strategies and successes of these notorious "king whisperers." Spanning the globe through the ages of history to the modern era, Swint reveals to us how they employed unique styles of power politics to forge alliances, intimidate rivals and influence events of the day. From spies, silver-tongued devils, empire builders, and the truly evil, this is a brilliant tapestry of behind-the-scenes schemers of all shapes and sizes.
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Mudslingers: The 25 Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time

The 2008 presidential election was full of the dirty politics and negative ads voters have come to expect during campaign season. Yet, even while modern mudslinging has grown more rampant, the phenomenon is hardly new. Author, professor, and former political consultant Kerwin Swint looks back to the dawn of American politics, drawing from presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial, and mayoral races, to select the 25 most low-down, smear-filled campaigns in U.S. history.

Almost everyone will remember the 2004 battle between George W. Bush and John Kerry. But no less dirty was the lesser-known fierce 1800 contest between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams for control of the White House, finally settled on the floor of the House of Representatives in Jefferson's favor. Number one? The brutal 1970 Alabama Democratic primary, in which George Wallace repeatedly slurred his opponent Albert Brewer as "sissy britches," spread false rumors about Brewer's sexuality, and made patently racist appeals to white voters.

There are numerous victims of muddy political skirmishes, including Helen Gahagan Douglas, smeared as a communist by Richard Nixon, and Michael Dukakis, whose defeat in the presidential election of 1988 by George H. W. Bush was due in part to the infamous "Willie Horton" ad. Swint introduces readers to them all. A lively journey through the most polluted of politics, Mudslingers provides a sparkling account of the history of negative campaigning, and, in the process, offers a fascinating glimpse into our national political culture.
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Reviews of Mudslingers:

"You wouldn't think there would be positive news in a book about negative campaigning. But Kerwin Swint has found some.
-- The Wall Street Journal, by John Fund

"We all claim that we hate negative campaigns, but from the very beginning of the American Republic, they have fascinated us. Go ahead: Indulge yourself! Professor Kerwin Swint has compiled an irresistible list of the 25 dirtiest campaigns of all time. You'll find yourself cluck-clucking as you absorb every word. This is a great read full of dark enlightenment."
- Larry J. Sabato, Director, Center for Politics, University of Virginia

Dark Genius: The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes, former Republican political consultant, and current president of Fox News Channel, is a dominant media figure of our age. His made-for-TV imagery and mastery of "style over substance" has overtaken earlier methods of reporting the news, and radically refashioned our political and communications landscapes. Yet, no book has ever been published on this Oz-like figure: Dark Genius is the definitive study of Ailes and his controversial career. The 1960 television encounter between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy was the moment when slick television imagery began to take over politics. Ailes, a young TV producer, absorbed the lessons of the new video age, and put them into practice.. Over the span of several decades, Ailes has played a key role in the growing reach of conservatism, first in politics, then in mass media. Part history, part media criticism, part current events, Dark Genius tracks the rise, dominance, and relevance of political television, and how it has been used and abused by its master.
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Political Consultants And Negative Campaigning: The Secrets Of The Pros

One of the most closely-watched and controversial aspects of modern political campaigning is the use of negative, attack tactics. This book examines the role played by negative campaigning through a national survey of professional political consultants. Campaign consultants have become vitally important to political candidates in recent years as strategists, fundraisers, and media specialists. The research in this book focuses on how consultants define negative campaigning, including the differences between issue attacks and character attacks, how and when criticism of the opponent should be implemented, and which media should be used to deliver attack messages. A statistical analysis of the survey data reveals insights into behavioral and professional differences among consultants with regard to party affiliation, gender, age, and level of experience.
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