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Published on Sep 3, 2010
When Upton Sinclair, famous author and lifetime Socialist, won the Democratic primary for governor of California in 1934 in a landslide--leading the greatest mass movement in the state's history--all hell broke loose there and across the country. To defeat Sinclair, his opponents invented the modern political campaign, led by advertising geniuses and spin doctors -- and the first wide use of the screen to destroy a candidate (created by MGM's Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg). The race, in fact, featured Hollywood's first major jump into politics. FDR became embroiled in the heart of it, and dozens of other famous figures played key roles, from Hearst and Mencken to Katharine Hepburn. "The Campaign of the Century," published by Random House in 1992, won the Goldsmith Book Prize, drew wide coverage, and inspired a PBS documentary.