By Sam Wildow
TROY — While the winners of presidential elections are the ones history typically remembers the most, for David Lindeman, those who lost their elections still had plenty of noteworthy stories to tell.
Lindeman, a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News, recently published his new book “Losers: The Stories of Presidential Also-Rans,” which features short, biographical stories on a number of U.S. presidential candidates who lost.
“History to a lot of people is boring … but the individual people involved are so fascinating. Often they’re more interesting than fictional characters because they just do things that seem, if not improbable, impossible,” Lindeman said. About the real-life people covered in his book, he said, “They all made big contributions in one way or another.”
Lindeman worked for the Troy Daily News between 1976 to 1999, first starting out in sports before moving up to executive editor. After leaving the Troy Daily News, Lindeman began working for Anderson Americana, which sells political memorabilia.
“I just ran into so many interesting stories, and they weren’t all about the winners. I found that the losers are often more interesting than the winners are,” Lindeman said.
Lindeman’s book features mostly the major party candidates who failed in their attempts to win the White House. It also includes more of the lesser-known facts and stories about candidates, such as rivalries between some of America’s Founding Fathers, local presidential hopefuls, and losers who still made history.
“Horace Greeley is a favorite because he’s so bizarre,” Lindeman said. “It’s almost not even imaginable all of the bad things that happened to him over the course of one campaign.”
Greeley, who ran during the 1872 presidential election, was the founder and editor of the New-York Tribune before he was forced out of the job during his presidential campaign. He also lost his wife, who died one week before the election. In his book, Lindeman writes how Greeley suffered a nervous breakdown and later died before the Electoral College votes were all counted, although the election was a landslide win for Ulysses S. Grant.
“James Cox is a favorite because he’s from Dayton,” Lindeman said.
Cox, the founder of Cox Media, was also the 46th and 48th governor of Ohio, a two-term U.S. representative from Ohio, and the Democratic nominee during the 1920 presidential election.
“He was a very interesting guy, a very hard-driver,” Lindeman said. Lindeman also noted that Cox’s political memorabilia are very rare items, and they once had a pin of his that sold for $40,000.
“He’s a very valuable candidate, very rare items, so collector’s are always searching for him,” Lindeman said.
On the cover of Lindeman’s book are a number of political pins and memorabilia pertaining to the figures discussed in the book. Brian Campbell, a local artist, also created one of the pins on the cover.
With his new book, Lindeman hopes readers find it entertaining, as well as a little informative, but with more emphasis on the fun.
“It’s not designed to be a scholarly work. It’s designed to be a fun book,” Lindeman said. “If you really get interested in one of these people, there’s lots of places you can look up more information on them. It’s just an introduction to each election and some of the more unusual events surrounding the people who were in them.”
Lindeman’s book is available on Amazon or at Jay and Mary’s in Troy.