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Portraits of Power

Ohio and National Politics, 1964-2004

By Abe Zaidan, with John C. Green

Publication Year: 2007

To understand Ohio politics is to understand American politics, a truth proven every two years in national elections. No journalist has written more astutely or with greater zest about politics in the Buckeye State than Abe Zaidan. For more than forty years, he covered what could be called an age of giants, a tumultuous era dominated by larger-than-life politicians like the irrepressible Governor James Rhodes and by such wrenching events as the shootings at Kent State University. Drawn from over three thousand news stories, columns, and feature articles written between 1964 and 2004, Portraits of Power presents ninety essays that, in Zaidan's witty and vivid style, shed light on this fascinating period of Ohio politics. Readers who lived through those years will be transported back to critical junctures in their lives, while those who did not will have a better understanding of the forces that helped to shape their world. Portraits of Power is not only the "first draft of history", in Abe Zaidan's shrewd and polished prose, it is also political literature that has outlasted the cause of its occasion.

Published by: The University of Akron Press


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Front Matter

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Table of Contents

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pp. ix-xi

For more than forty years, Abe Zaidan has fished the waters of Ohio politics, from the swirling eddies of Cleveland and Cincinnati to the quiet backwaters of small communities along the great stream that gives the state its name. It is no exaggeration to say that hardly any of the state’s biggest political fish have eluded his net or...

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pp. xiii-xiv

When John Green sat down at lunch with me in June 2003 to propose a book containing some of my earlier newspaper and magazine political columns, the idea was high flattery from one who has established national prominence as the widely quoted director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron...

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About Abe Zaidan

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pp. xv-xvi

Abe Zaidan was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the Western Pennsylvania coal-mining town of Mt. Pleasant. Following graduation in 1953 from the University of Illinois School of Journalism, he worked briefly as a newsman for WILL Radio in Champaign-Urbana, then entered the Air Force as a communications...

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An Age of Giants: Ohio Politics, 1964–2004

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pp. xvii-xxi

Abe Zaidan’s forty-year journalism career spanned what might be called “an age of giants”: a tumultuous era dominated by larger- than-life politicians. Among Zaidan’s best writings are portraits of these giants. Ohio politicians and politics were the focus of Zaidan’s work, and to understand Ohio politics is to understand...

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Part I. The 1960s Watershed, 1964–1970

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pp. 1-62

The first essay in this section reports on the 1964 election and Democrat Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater, two political giants of their time.This story was actually written in 1973 (on the occasion of President Johnson’s death) but provides a vivid picture of the impact of the 1964 election...

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Part II. The Politics of Turmoil, 1970–1976

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pp. 63-125

The shootings of antiwar protestors at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, exemplifies this turmoil. The Kent State University campus is twelve miles east of the offices of the Akron Beacon Journal, and Zaidan was part of a team of seven journalists who covered the tragedy and its aftermath.The paper won a Pulitzer Prize...

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Part III. The Politics of Transition, 1977–1980

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pp. 127-195

During this period two new political giants who served as mayor, Dennis Kucinich and George Voinovich, were introduced in Cleveland’s ongoing political saga. Each in his own way represented the displacement of the old industrial cities from the center of national life and the adjustment to new roles in an era of suburban...

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Part IV. Turn to the Right, 1981–2004

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pp. 197-263

Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 began a turn to the right in national and Ohio politics that lasted until the end of the century. It included a twelve-year period of Republican presidential dominance, including Reagan’s landslide reelection in 1984 against former Vice President Walter Mondale, the 1988 victory of George...

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Part V. Afterword

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pp. 265-301

The columns and articles reprinted on these pages represent an age that seems lost in ancient history, though no more than a generation past. In politics, particularly, the velocity of change has swept us into a day that has been reshaped by forces that will doubtless make even today’s landscape unrecognizable in relatively...


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pp. 303-304


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pp. 305-313

E-ISBN-13: 9781935603771
E-ISBN-10: 1935603779
Print-ISBN-13: 9781931968461
Print-ISBN-10: 1931968462

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 16 photos
Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 608547391
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Portraits of Power

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989.
  • Ohio -- Politics and government -- 1951-.
  • Politicians -- United States -- Biography -- Miscellanea.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
  • Politicians -- Ohio -- Biography -- Miscellanea.
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