From Publishers Weekly
Carson and Johnson, both veteran Arizona journalists, present the late Arizona Congressman Morris Udall (1922-1998)--who served in the House from 1961 to 1991 and in 1976 nearly wrested the Democratic nomination for president from Jimmy Carter--as an extraordinarily honorable man with sound political instincts, but one whose singular commitment to public service left his personal life neglected and atrophied. Udall's first marriage ended in divorce, his second wife committed suicide and his children were emotionally estranged from their father yet still admired him. At the heart of the book is Udall's political persona, which was engaging, fair-minded, self-effacing and possessed of extraordinary wit. Even the Vietnam War, of which he was an early vocal opponent, and Watergate are highlighted only to the extent that they played a role in his career. Soberingly, the issues to which Udall devoted his considerable skills--campaign finance reform, congressional reform, tobacco-related questions, civil rights, land use and conservation, and population control--are problems still on legislative agendas today. Where Carson and Johnson shine is in the insight they provide into the inner workings of Congress and what it's like to run for president. For example, in Mo's brother Stewart Udall's opinion, McGovern's 1972 campaign was flawed because McGovern, incredibly, believed that winning the nomination made him a shoo-in for the presidency. About his own presidential bid, Mo Udall once said, "You find yourself almost wishing someone would tell you for sure--that it's no use--so you could quit." Crisp and absorbing, this book should appeal to readers from Udall's home state of Arizona and to conservationists who remember Udall's role in their fight. (Feb.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Veteran political reporters and University of Arizona professors Carson and Johnson recount the life, times, and political legacy of Morris K. Udall (1922-98), who became a political hero to many liberal Democrats during his 30-year congressional career. Udall's loss of an eye at age six, combined with his height as an adult, he was a towering 6'5" differentiated him from an early age and likely contributed to his drive to succeed, a force that shaped his life in both negative and positive ways. His enormous energy and workaholic behavior undermined his first marriage, which ended in divorce, and his second marriage, which ended with his wife's suicide. But it also propelled Udall to leadership in reforming the House of Representatives in the early 1970s. Even though this Young Turk's challenge to his party's House leadership failed, he made an even bolder attempt to claim his party's 1976 presidential nomination. Ultimately, it took Parkinson's disease to thwart "Second Place Mo's" ambition. Throughout his entire life, Udall won over his opponents and built a national following with his decency, work, and sense of humor. Political junkies will enjoy this readable biography, which merits a paperback edition for classroom use. Highly recommended. William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.