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This summer in 1972, George McGovern, the so-called candidate of "Amnesty, abortion, and acid," tapped the young, senatorial shoulder of Thomas Eagleton to be his running mate. Over the course of the next eighteen days, a pair of anonymous phone calls alleging that Eaglteon had undergone treatment for depression and exhaustion would force McGovern to publicly withdraw his selection.  In Joshua Glasser's  debut, "The Eighteen-Day Running Mate," he recounts every angle of the episode in vivid detail. Wonks of all stripes will be interested by the various political wranglings that went on behind the scenes, but at the book's core are two very human stories about that rare breed of politician that still appears to be a good person even after all the facts are known, and their attempts to do what is right, both for themselves and for their country.

Mr Glasser, a researcher for Bloomberg Television, and I spoke about the incident, and how it continues to reverberate in the present day. Interview after the Jump


 
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Patrick Somerville’s new novel This Bright River is a lesson in how contemporary storytelling should function. The book is hell-bent on pursuing questions of modern experience, but doesn’t abandon the kind of sensitivity and interior investigation that I think we expect from these types of big literary novels. You may have read about the very public misreading that the book was given in an influential publication, or Mr. Somerville’s graceful treatment of the issue on Salon.com, but let's not focus too much focus on that.

From the publisher’s copy: "Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance. Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier. As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?"

Mr. Somerville and I spoke about craft, videogames, and some other interesting stuff. (Interview after the jump.)