Mark Stein – The Presidential Fringe

This offbeat slice of American history places the story of our great republic beneath an unexpected lens: that of fringe candidates for president of the United States. Mark Stein explores how their quest for our nations highest office helped to amplify voices otherwise quashed during their day. His careening tour through elections past includes the efforts of true pioneers in the quest for social equality in our country: the first woman to run for president, Victoria Woodhull in 1872; the first African American to run for president, George E. Taylor in 1904; and the first openly gay cross-dressing candidate for president, Joan Jett Blakk in 1992.

But The Presidential Fringe also takes a look at those who would jest their way into the Oval Office, from comedians such as Will Rogers and Gracie Allen to Pat Paulsen and Stephen Colbert. Along the way, Stein shows how even seemingly zany candidates, such as Live Forever Jones, Vegetarian Party candidate John Maxwell, Flying Saucer Party candidate Gabriel Green, or most recently, Vermin Supreme, provide extraordinary insights of clarity into who we were when they ran for president and how we became who we are today. Ultimately, Steins examination reveals that it was often precisely these fringe candidates who planted the seeds from which mainstream candidates later harvested genuine, positive change.

Written in Steins direct and witty style, The Presidential Fringe surveys and portrays an American landscape rife with the unlikely, unassuming, unexpected, and (in a few cases) unbalanced presidential hopefuls who, in their own way, have contributed to this nations founding quest to form a more perfect Union.

Author: Mark Stein
Narrator: Keith Sellon-Wright
Duration: 8 hours 1 min
Released: 20 Jan 2002
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Language: English

User Review:

mouse exorbitant

The book is great, perhaps the best book ever written on the subject. Incredibly researched, highly detailed, and the follow-up about “Tom Horn” legend was a surprising treat.
The narration is awful. I can imagine that the narrator sounded good, at first, to those who choose these things, but they didn’t listen to him long enough. His GLOTTAL STOP is the most disturbing feature that left me laughing at parts that shouldn’t be laughed at, with the troubling effect of halting my concentration about the subject overall. Really, did someone vet this guy? Evidently, they never had him read the words “mountain,” or “Martin.” There are actually “T’s” in those words, and this guy can’t get to them. I grew up in the panhandle area of Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico and while the drawl here is fast and loose, there is no reason to punish the listener of of a supposedly professional work by hearing “mou-un” and “Mar-un” over and over (with extra emphasis on “un”). Really, we don’t allow our kids to speak this way in the southwest, and the reason will be obvious to you if you listen to Lucas enough. It’s not “hick-charming,” or “range-cute,” it’s just lazy, lazy reading. Add to that the less often mispronunciation (actually, slaughter) and syllable addition of words like “burgularizing” and you’ll be in stitches, even though the narrator is describing a tragedy. Or is that a tragedidy? The lazy talk of glo-ul stop has to, well… stop!
-Nevertheless- The book was worth the torture of the listen, but more than once, I considered returning it because of the narration. It is, after all, a good book. I should have bought the text version and read it for myself, I suppose.