Title: "A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign"

Author: Edward J. Larson

Publisher: Free Press

Pages: 335

Price: $27

In a Nutshell: No wonder Thomas Jefferson called the election of 1800 "America's second revolution." It was characterized by chaos, confrontation, back-stabbing, scheming and vilification — and yet the two candidates, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, remain icons to Americans today.

It was the first time presidential candidates clearly represented two political parties — and the volatility was palpable. It was also complicated because electors from each state chose the president without a popular vote — and because either of the candidates for vice president, Charles Pinckney or Aaron Burr, could have been elected president.

The author has done a magnificent job in portraying this amazing episode in American history for the reader