Whoever thought a presidential campaign could be this exciting? A black freshman senator, a former first lady, and a Vietnam veteran entered the race for the President of the United States. We know the ending of the story, but the journey was filled with
the kind of dramatic turns fit for a soap opera. 08: A Graphic Diary of the Campaign Trail captures the excitement, drama and suspense of the nearly two-year fight for the most prestigious job in the world.
Written by Michael Crowley, senior editor of the political journal The New Republic, and illustrated by Dan Goldman, 08
delivers a concise and entertaining tale about the longest presidential campaign in U.S. history.
The narrative follows the trail from the rumors of who would run in 2006 to the historic November day in 2008. Crowley tells the story with commentary from reporters Harlan Jessop and Jason Newbury. 08 manages to cover every candidate – even on-the-fringe candidate Ron Paul – and the various issues that emerged during the campaign in a tight 160 pages.
It’s hard to remember all the twists and turns of the race, especially with a fast news cycle, but 08 brings the race into a great story of competition and inspiration in America. Who can forget the tears from Hilary before the New Hampshire primary or Obama awkwardly bowling in Pennsylvania? While those moments stick out, Crowley and Goldman remind us of Democrat Chris Dodd and other candidates who had little press coverage.
The craziness of the Republican race gets equal coverage with added humor. Fred Thompson’s weak work ethic or McCain’s love/hate relationship with the media are perfect targets for laughs. Readers hear from the candidates through memorable quotes and reporter commentary. Crowley writes with a quick pace but doesn’t gloss over the important events; his writing gives immediacy to the topic and mimics the quickness of campaign coverage. Goldman wisely draws the book in black and white for a traditional comic look. Some of the renderings of the politicians are not so clear, but the drawings are consistent.
The only drawback to 08 is the lack of new information. While the book covers the main punches in the race, no new commentary or insight is given. Loyal followers of the campaign may be disappointed, but 08 is worth a buy as a keepsake of the campaign. Those who missed out on the frenzy can experience the race in a new way.