Books by Presidential Losers

Jan 20 21:26 2009 Fernando Bessega Print This Article

With a presidential election there can be only one winner, but what happened to those who fought and lost?  Some have eventually returned to win a future election, but what about those who never became president.  Over the past 68 years there have been a dozen men who ran for president and never won an election; all of them have written books.  The topics of their writing vary from conventional memoirs to the photography and climate change. 

In 2004 - John Kerry lost to George W. Bush

The New Soldier was written in 1971 by John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.   It contains excerpts of testimony about war crimes committed during the war.  Only 5000 copies of the book were originally printed driving the value of the book up to $1250 for a signed first edition.


In 2000 - Al Gore lost to George W. Bush,Guest Posting although Gore did win the popular vote losing by the Electoral Collages

Gore as authored a number of books including Earth in the Balance which was written in 1992 and became the basis for his much acclaimed An Inconvenient Truth which became a bestseller and was turned into an Academy Award winning Documentary, prices for signed copies of the former top out at $595 while the Inconvenient Truth is offered for up to $449 when signed.


In 1996 - Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton

After losing the 1996 election Bob Dole wrote a book about his run at the presidency in an effort to show that just because he lost the election it didn’t mean he lost his sense of humour.   A signed copy of Great Political Wit is offered for up to $436


In 1988 - Michael Dukakis lost to George H. W. Bush

Though not at all collectable Dukakis helped write How to Get Into Politics and Why in 2006, you can buy it for under $20


In 1984 - Walter Mondale lost to Ronald Regan

Mondale’s most collectable work would be his first book The Accountability of Power: Toward a Responsible Presidency, written in 1976 as an essay against the excesses of the Nixon administration.  You can pick up a signed copy for only $50.


In 1976 - Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter

Gerald Ford is the wildcard in this list since he did serve as president; however he did so having never won an election.  Rather then win his way in he was given the Vice Presidency after Spiro Agnew’s resignation and then catapulted to the position of President the following year after Nixon resigned during the Watergate scandal.  He attempted a second term in office but was beaten by Jimmy Carter in 1976.  Following these events Ford wrote his Autobiography A Time to Heal in 1979, a title which remains his most collectable book, as well as the most collectable book written by a presidential candidate who never won an election.  A signed copy will cost you up to $2800.


In 1972 - George McGovern lost to Richard Nixon

McGovern has written a number of books:  The Great Coalfield War which depicts the struggle for unionisation among early Colorado Coal Miners , A biography titled Grassroots which was published in 1977, and in 1997 he wrote Terry; the story of his daughters struggle with Alcoholism - All of which hover around the $150 range.


In 1968 - Hubert Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon

Written in 1976, The Education of a Public Man documents Humphrey’s long political career, the book has undergone re-printings and signed early editions are offered for up to $100.


In 1964 - Barry Goldwater lost to Lyndon B. Johnson

Apart from being known as Mr. Conservative Goldwater was also highly interested in photography.  Three books with his photography are People and Places, Delightful Journey and Barry Goldwater and the Southwest which contains a forward written by Ansel Adams, a signed copy of the latter can be found for up to $450.


In 1956 and 1952 - Adlai Stevenson lost two consecutive elections to Dwight D. Eisenhower

Titled after part of his speech that won him the democratic nomination at the 1952 convention The Stark Reality of Responsibility is Adlai’s most collectable work with only 1000 copies in its initial printing the book is offered for up to $200.


In 1948 and 1944 - Thomas E. Dewey Lost consecutive elections to Harry S. Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt

After losing the Republican nomination in 1940 on an isolationist policy Dewey put up a good fight against the incredibly popular Roosevelt only to lose again the following election to Harry Truman by frittering away a mammoth lead in the polls with quotes like his famous `You know that your future is still ahead of you.` Dewey was so favoured to win the Chicago Tribune even hedged their bets declaring him the winner in their headline only to have to change it after 150,000 papers had been shipped out.  Dewey’s most collectable book is a signed copy of Journey to the Far Pacific which contains writings about his trip though east Asia visiting revolutionary and war ravaged countries of Korea, Indo-China, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia which is offered for up to $468.


In 1940 - Wendell Willkie lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt

Willkie ran against FDR despite having never held a prior elected political office, he lost the Electoral College’s by a landslide but his book One World became a New York Times bestseller, not only did it predict China’s eventual rise to the status of superpower but also touted the importance of international peacekeeping after the second world war.  Signed copies of the first edition are offered for up to $389.

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Fernando Bessega
Fernando Bessega

Fernando Bessega is an ecommerce expert specialized in the book market. You can find the featured books here.

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