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    Exploring a nation's political history

    By SAMANTHA PUCKETT

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 8, 2000


    ALL ABOUT THE ELECTIONS: Two hundred years of America's favorite national spectacle -- the presidential elections -- are documented in Hats in the Ring: An Illustrated History on American Presidential Candidates (Random House, $39.95). Journalist Evan Cornog provides a narrative of the people and parties of more than 200 years of politics, and photo-historian Richard Whelan illustrates with hundreds of photographs, cartoons and portraits he collected from the public and private archives. At-a-glance information such as candidates and electoral tallies is included for every election from George Washington's to Bill Clinton's.

    STUDYING OUR RIGHT TO VOTE: The first comprehensive history on the subject in 80 years, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (Basic Books, $30), chronicles the slow and complex evolution of suffrage from the American Revolution to today. Author Alexander Keyssar, professor of history and public policy at Duke University, contends that the biggest promoter of voting rights expansion has been war, while the loss of voting rights by marginalized groups has been caused by class conflict.

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