Do I Have What It Takes To Read What It Takes? The Final Chapter

Justin March 30, 2011 0

Finally, the answer we’ve all been waiting for:  YES.

Today marks the final edition of our ongoing chronicle of one man’s efforts to read a book.  Richard Ben Cramers, “What It Takes,” is a very long chronicling of the 1988 Presidential election. It is 1,051 pages broken up into 130 chapters, an afterword and an additional author’s note.

How did I do?

I finished the book yesterday at 3:36pm. That means it took a grand total of 41 days to read it cover to cover. That blows my initial over/under of 5 months completely out of the water. Luckily, no one seemed to give a shit about how long it would take me to read this book, so no one lost any money.

Here’s an interesting fact about “What It Takes.” It could have been significantly longer. Like 500 pages longer. The narrative ends at the end of the primary season. There is no in depth discussion of the general election face off between Bush and Dukakis. Dan Quayle is only mentioned once. Lloyd Bentsen, who was Dukakis’s running mate, is discussed solely in the context of a man who defeated George Bush in a Senate race decades earlier. Cramer simply wraps up the general in an afterword that begins on election night, then catches up with the candidates over the next year or so.

The final question: Would I recommend  it? Yes, with a GIANT caveat.  You should only read this if you’re a student of politics. This will bore the hell out of someone who is kind of interested in what’s going on but only gets truly invested every four years or so.  There are characters that play bit parts in this book who will go on to be the major political figures of the 90’s and 2000’s. It’s kind of cool to read about them as they’re just starting out. And it’s interesting to read about the ambitions of the 5 losing candidates in the wake of their election, while knowing what actually becomes of them.

And what’s next on my bookshelf? Light reading. I’m sticking to sports books and comedy for the next couple of months.

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