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Barry Goldwater Hardcover – September 27, 1995

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 478 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (September 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300062613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300062618
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,671,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former Arizona Republican senator Barry Goldwater, a leader of the extreme conservative movement in the 1960s and '70s, has recently attacked the religious right while championing abortion rights and advocating federal legislation to protect homosexuals against job bias. Many liberals have welcomed Goldwater into their fold, but the author, himself a liberal and a history professor at the University of Utah, points out that Goldwater's bedrock conservative principles emphasizing personal freedom underlie his latest stances. A longtime advocate of limited government and individual responsibility, Goldwater still urges a federal withdrawal from social programs, opposes gun control and believes that women should leave the workplace and return home to raise their children. This balanced, solid biography, written with Goldwater's cooperation (but unauthorized), traces his rugged individualism to his Western frontier roots, to his formative experiences in the Depression and as a gutsy cargo pilot in WWII and to his Jewish immigrant grandfather, Michel Goldwasser, self-made entrepreneur and refugee from Russian Poland. The author details Goldwater's behind-the-scenes role in supporting President Reagan's anticommunist crusade in Nicaragua and his overhaul of the U.S. military chain of command through major legislation in 1986. Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This book's simple title belies the real value of historian Goldberg's work. Not only does it provide an important analysis of the career of a politician once dubbed, "Mr. Conservative," but it chronicles the development of today's almost orthodox conservatism, evident through the Reagan-Bush years and in the 1994 elections. It joins Lee Edwards's more adulatory Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution (LJ 7/95) in painting a portrait of a complicated politician who has become, to some, an American icon. Goldberg, who interviewed principles extensively, draws on the documents to a greater degree than Edwards, who interviewed more Goldwater intimates and put less emphasis on the context. Goldberg does a fine job of placing Goldwater where he always belonged, as a libertarian conservative, not a traditional one. Beautifully written, contextually rich, highly recommended.?Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Klobas VINE VOICE on August 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Few people have had the impact on the American political scene that Barry Goldwater made in his career. Born into one of the wealthiest families in Arizona, his embrace of the Western myth and his opposition to increased role the government played in economic management after the Great Depression (one influenced by his experience managing the family's chain of local department stores) combined to shape his political philosophy. After service in the Army Air Force in World War II, he entered politics and became a leader of the effort to "clean up" the Phoenix city government - though Goldberg writes that, as most of the members of the effort themselves acknowledged, the charges of civic corruption that led to their victory were largely overstated.

Upon winning election to the United States Senate in 1952, Goldwater quickly emerged as one of its most prominent conservatives, becoming chair of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee just three years later. The role played to Goldwater's gift for marketing, and he quickly developed a national following among thousands of Americans. He benefited as well from the emergence of a new radical right, fueled by growing concerns over race and embodied in organizations like the John Birch Society. With the publication of his 1960 book Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater cemented his position as the leading figure of the movement, their natural candidate for the presidency.

Goldwater got his chance in 1964. With the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Nelson Rockefeller, politically damaged by his divorce and remarriage, Goldwater was the front-runner. He accepted the nomination at a convention that Goldberg terms "the Woodstock of American conservatism," with a speech that galvanized his supporters.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Seals on May 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It has been said that Barry Goldwater ran for President in 1964 but was elected in 1980. This refers to the fact that he set the stage for the movement, back in the 1960's, that set the stage for the Reagan revolution in 1980. Goldwater energized a base of largely young conservatives and brought a whole new great of people into the process.

The book also tells us a lot of details of Goldwater's early life. Most people probably don't realize the he is of Jewish heritage. He worked hard his entire life to get where he was. This is a strong contrast with the Kennedy family and many others (including George W. Bush) who were children of wealth.

The book gives an excellent account of Goldwater's entire career including his retirement in 1987....such that he ever really completely retired.

It is a faily well balanced book.....at least compared to most others. It is clear, as others have said, that Goldberg approaches the subject from the left. But it doesn't spoil the contents of the book and he doesn't revise history or distort Goldwater's record. It is a fairly good account of a great man's life!
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "avon345" on August 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This biography is well written and researched. Unfortunately, it becomes painfully clear at times that the author, Robert Alan Goldberg, is writing from the Left. The book's strengths lie in his discussion of Goldwater's family history and upbringing. On the other hand, Goldberg's rants on Goldwater's racial complacency get old after a couple chapters, and do not relent. Goldberg essentially accuses Goldwater of turning a blind eye to racism, but then defends him by saying he himself was not racist.
Of course Goldwater was not racist. He did not "accomodate" racism, either...Goldwater just wasn't a "Civil Rights" activist like Goldberg, but then again, who is Goldberg to judge a man such as Barry Goldwater? When he sticks to the facts, this book is good. When he strays, it is awkward. Overall, though, its at least worth borrowing from the local library.
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