Convention Hinges on Database and Daughter-in-Law

Picture of speaker addressing political conventionIn Convention,  veteran Washington reporters Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II take readers behind the scenes to see what happens at a national political convention out of sight of TV cameras.

Unfortunately, what happens out of sight of the TV cameras isn’t much more interesting than what readers see on TV.

Charles B. Manchester, Secretary of the Treasury and heir-apparent to the President, appears to have his party’s nomination sewn up.

Then Manchester utters an off-the-cuff comment at a press conference, which turns everyone with a stake in building a new defense system against him.

Manchester’s honestly believes the new weapon is not needed. He won’t back down, even if it means losing the nomination.

What is interesting from a contemporary perspective is that the plot hinges on use of a secret computer stuffed with data about the convention delegates. That may sound tame, but when Convention was written 50 years ago most people had not heard the term computer and Big Data was still a baby.

Other than that, there’s not much new or interesting in the novel.

I don’t need to tell you that with a little nudge The Great American Electorate will rise up to support The Honest Man.

You’ve seen this plot before, and the characters are as cliché-choked as the plot.

Note to subscribers: I apologize for not posting this review Tuesday as promised.  Apparently I deleted it instead of scheduling it.

Convention
By Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II
Harper & Row, 1964
343 pages
1964 bestseller #10
My grade: B
 
 

© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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