Alpha Dogs is the story of the men behind an enormously influential campaign business called the Sawyer Miller Group, men who served as backroom strategists on every presidential contest from Richard M. Nixon’s to Barack Obama’s. David Sawyer was a New England aristocrat with dreams of a career as a filmmaker, and Scott Miller, the son of an Ohio shoe salesman, had a knack for copywriting. Unlikely partners, they became a political powerhouse, directing democratic revolutions from the Philippines to Chile, steering a dozen presidents and prime ministers into office, and instilling the campaign ethic in corporate giants such as Coca-Cola and Apple. Long after their firm, Sawyer Miller, had broken up and sold out, its alumni had moved into the White House, to dozens of foreign countries, and into the offices of America’s blue-chip chief executives. The men of Sawyer Miller were the Manhattan Project of spin politics: a small but extraordinary group who invented American-style political campaigning and exported it around the world.In this lively and engaging narrative, James Harding tells the story of a few men whose marketing savvy, entrepreneurial drive, and sheer greed would alter the landscape of global politics. It is a story full of office intrigue, fierce rivalries, and disastrous miscalculations. And it is the tale of how world politics became American and how American business became political.
Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.
Read the full excerpt
James Harding is the editor of The Times in London. He was previously the Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times. Alpha Dogs is his first book.