From Frank Leone at DemRulz, his list of best convention books (reprinted by permission):
- Paul T. David, et al., The Politics of National Party Conventions, Vintage Books: 1964 – This is a condensed Brookings Institution Study that provides a comprehensive analytical account of the nominating conventions from 1832 to 1960. (There is a 1972 update.)
- Douglas E. Egerton, Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln and the Election that Brought on the Civil War, Bloomsbury Press: 2010- an excellent account of the presidential election of 1860, including Lincoln’s suprise nomination at the Republican Convention and the five “Democratic Party” conventions, which – as southern fire-eaters had planned - split the Democratic Party, ensured Lincoln’s election, and provided the excuse for succession.
- Ralph G. Martin, Ballots & Bandwagons: The Exciting Events behind Five Major Party Conventions, Rand McNally & Co., 1964 – very interesting accounts of the Republican Conventions of 1900, 1912, and 1920 and the Democratic Conventions of 1932 and 1956.
- Steve Neal, Happy Days are Here Again: The 1932 Democratic Convention, the Emergence of FDR – and How America Was Changed Forever, William Morrow: 2004 – it’s a fascinating story because FDR needed 2/3 – and people including Al Smith, William Randolph Hearst, and Harry Byrd didn’t want him to get it.
- Norman Mailer, Miami and The Siege of Chicago, Signet: 1968 – A good first hand account of the 1968 conventions, one of many on the debacle that was the 1968 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago.
- Richard Reeves, Convention, Hardcourt Brace: 1977 – the 1976 Convention, including wrangling for credentials.
- Jeff Berman, The Magic Number: Inside Obama’s Chase for the Presidential Nomination, Ordway House: 2012 – Obama’s chief delegate counter provides a fascinating account of the 2012 race, including a behind the scenes look at the Denver convention.
Here's one more from me: Charles Peters, Five Days in Philadelphia - The Amazing "We Want Wilkie" Convention of 1940 and how it Freed FDR to Save the Western World. How Wilkie beat GOP isolationists, including Dewey and Taft, to win the nomination and give FDR cover to prepare the US for war.
Oreo - My Favorite: Then Everything Changed by Jeff Greenfield. A great alternate history book that includes several conventions that would have been different had events not turned out the way they did.