The Right Stuff About The Oval Office

TITLE: WHAT IT TAKES

AUTHOR: RICHARD BEN CRAMER

PUBLISHER: RANDOM HOUSE; 1,047 PAGES; $28

THE BOTTOM LINE: The best look at presidential politics since Dan Quayle was in the National Guard.

For once the dust jacket gets it right: What It Takes "does for politicians what Tom Wolfe did for astronauts in The Right Stuff." Left unsaid -- and in this 1,047-page doorstop of an epic only the dust jacket is terse -- was precisely Wolfe's accomplishment in The Right Stuff. Wolfe took an event we all were certain we knew so well that it bored us to tears and convinced...

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