Books: The Outside Story

1986 • Doubleday | ISBN ISBN 0-385-19679-2

Follow the 1984 presidential race from the highways of Iowa to Ronald Reagan’s 49-state-landslide. See a great campaigner in his prime and the death agonies of the Democratic Party’s New Deal coalition. Fidel Castro has a bit part.


The roads of Iowa are laid out by ruler. Driving them is like driving on graph paper. A turn is a major event; it rotates the whole state ninety degrees. Road signs, when they appear, give a little shock like marquees: BUMP. Every so often, there is a dark fur tuft, whipped in half; or trucks going the other way suck you over. The only other sights in midwinter are fields trimmed with gray sheets of water.

Iowa has joined New Hampshire as an all-season resort for politicians…

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