Eugene McCarthy's place in history as a cynosure of the antiâ"Vietnam War movement is universally acknowledged. Yet McCarthy remains an enigmatic figure to supporters and opponents alike. Sandbrook's biography attempts to take the measure of the 1968 Democratic presidential candidate as a man and as a politicianâ"and McCarthy (b. 1916) fares badly in both categories. Sandbrook, a British scholar of American history, argues that as a politician McCarthy, who served for two decades in the House and the Senate, achieved far less than contemporaries such as John F. Kennedy, Johnson or Humphrey, despite his superior intelligence and natural charisma. Specifically, Sandbrook contends that McCarthy brought no new ideas into the political arena, never won his party's presidential nomination and gave his name to no major bills. Given the rarified sphere that McCarthy occupied, and the scope and depth of the accomplishments of those to whom he is compared, it is arguable that Sandbrook's view is too harsh. But the comments by contemporaries of McCarthy's personal qualities are often damning indeed. Sandbrook quotes from a variety of McCarthy's fellow politicians, friends, family and the press to present the picture of a man who, for all his gifts, was, in the words of historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. "indolent, frivolous, cynical," or as described by Gilbert Harrison, a friend and former editor of the New Republic, "lazy," "unresponsive" and "insensitive." McCarthy's reported response to the assassination of his 1968 campaign opponent Robert Kennedy was a callous "[h]e brought it on himself." Sandbrook's biography will command attention and spark discussion about this controversial career and McCarthy's role in the end of the New Deal liberal consensus.--e brought it on himself." Sandbrook's biography will command attention and spark discussion about this controversial career and McCarthy's role in the end of the New Deal liberal consensus.
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As the nation's current Democratic presidential candidates raced the icy roads of New Hampshire, journalists remembered another harsh New Hampshire winter, when the junior senator from Minnesota and his "Clean for Gene" troops lost a primary but did well enough (42.4 percent) to convince Lyndon Johnson not to run for reelection. For Sandbrook, a U.S. history lecturer at the University of Sheffield, Gene McCarthy's political career "reflected the rise and fall of the liberal consensus between the 1940s and the 1960s." McCarthy's liberalism grew from his deeply felt Catholicism, which led him to reject unrestrained modern capitalism's cruelties as well as Communism's godlessness. (McCarthy in fact got his political start driving "Reds" out of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.) In the U.S. House and then the Senate in the 1940s and 1950s, McCarthy was a man of his time: firmly anti-Communist, a pragmatic, ambitious "rising star popular with the southern party barons." His 1968 challenge to LBJ manifested the collapse of the faith that had held liberalism together for a generation. Enlightening political biography; includes notes and a detailed bibliography. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I have read all Mr Sandbrooks books about Britain and they are fantastic. They mix culture and politics in a most entertaining fshion. Read morePublished on December 2, 2012 by Ulf Jensen
Having lived through the era covered in this political biography but having only vague impressions of the personalities involved and what it all meant as McCarthy rose to the... Read morePublished on November 26, 2009 by Edward R. Knuckles
Sandbrook's work is intelligent, well-sourced, and persuasively argued: the campaign of the 1968 did lead to the end of New Deal Liberalism. Read morePublished on June 14, 2007 by Geoffrey Rose
This is a great book, as it is the story of mid-20th cenutry Minnesota and national politics told from the story of a man who is essentially known for one thing - the New Hampshire... Read morePublished on May 19, 2007 by CJ
Riddled with factual errors, an exercise in character assassination for reasons that are never frankly stated, this book is an excretion.Published on July 7, 2005 by Keith Burris
Undeniably, Eugene McCarthy remains one of the most enigmatic figures of the 20th century. A controversial figure within his own party, McCarthy can only be understood by the... Read morePublished on October 2, 2004 by Richard Marano
With style and sophistication, Dominic Sandbrook's book traces the fortunes of liberalism through the career of former Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy. Read morePublished on May 25, 2004