Journal of American History Reviews My “Daisy Girl” Book

I’m grateful for a favorable review in the June 2012 issue of The Journal of American History of my book Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Robert Mann’s account of the origins, execution, and impact of a notorious political attack advertisement run by Lyndon B. Johnson during his 1964 presidential campaign is essential to understanding the history of television spots in American presidential campaigns. He makes a plausible case that the generally misnamed “daisy girl” commercial was the first tv spot in a presidential campaign to resort to fear arousal against a rival.”

“Even those versed in 1964 campaign literature will gain new insights into how Dole, [sic] Dane, and Bernbach (DDB) became the advertising agency of choice to handle Johnson’s campaign advertising and likewise how he reacted to their work. (DDB unleashed several other ads excoriating Goldwater—most notably one showing a saw rising from the Atlantic Ocean to sever the Eastern Seaboard from the rest of the United States in keeping with a Goldwater quote.) Mann also works through a forgotten dispute between ddb and the advertising executive Tony Schwartz over who originated the concept of a freckle-faced girl plucking petals and the frightful sequence that followed.”

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