The Making of the President, 1960, was a huge success when the book came out in 1961. It stayed on the best-seller list for more than forty weeks. The book, written in a novelistic style, traces the 1960 campaign from the primaries (in which John F. Kennedy faced Hubert Humphrey and Senator Stuart Symington) to the conclusion of the general election contest against Richard Nixon.
The book had quite an impact on politics and its image. Critics and journalists who had read it were subjected to a shift in their way to describe everyday politics. As said by White in the book itself, it showed a leader under the pressures of circumstances. It reported a presidential battle in a different angle. This literary-journalistic book brought a dramatic point of view on the world of politics and its strategies, victories and defeats. White even noted all intonations and postures of the 1960 politicians. A chapter was also devoted on detailing the reasons behind Americans' way to vote and their way to live.
White in later years would bemoan the system he had help create in political journalism.
David L. Wolper produced a film version of The Making of the President, 1960 which was finished shortly before President Kennedy's November 1963 assassination but released without revision.