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Pure Goldwater Hardcover – April 15, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Senator Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), whose 1960 best-seller Conscience of a Conservative helped define the modern conservative movement, was by 1996 describing himself and Bob Dole as "the new liberals of the Republican Party." Author Dean (Broken Government, Conservatives Without Conscience) and Goldwater Jr., the Senator's son and an eighth-term California congressman, explore the complicated figure in this "scrap book" of journal excerpts, correspondence, articles and other primary testimony. A Republican maverick who valued principle over political expediency, Goldwater can be predictable-maintaining loyalty toward Nixon even as the President edged him out of inner White House circles (as late as May 1973, Goldwater called for Jack Anderson's Pulitzer to be re-dubbed "the Benedict Arnold Award")-but he was neither an ideologue nor a mud-slinger: for instance, his hard-hitting fight against President Johnson stopped short of scandalizing LBJ's chief of staff, arrested for "disorderly" conduct in a men's toilet, and in 1994 he went against the powerful new GOP congress by saying publicly of Whitewater, "I haven't heard anything yet that says this is all that big of a deal." Covering personal life, career and retirement, including his 1964 bid for president, this is an invaluable chronicle of the times, told by an American who changed politics by being, simply, "an honest man who tried his damnedest."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“An invaluable chronicle of the times.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review, Web Pick of the Week)

“Of all the books on 'Mr. Conservative,' Pure Goldwater might provide the most realistic insights into his character and thinking. After the birth of Barry Jr., Goldwater started a private journal...that journal is the basis of Pure Goldwater -- so, in effect, it is a book written by the senator himself, capturing his most intimate thoughts for those closest to him.” ―The National Review

“It's a fitting tribute to a real straight talker, a fine Senator, and one of the most influential conservatives of the past 50 years.” ―The National Review

“A sprawling treasure trove . . . Goldwater is worth rediscovering . . . Conservatives--and liberals, too--take note.” ―Washington Post Book World

“A field guide to the presidential and legislative politics of the middle to late 20th century. Reading Goldwater's descriptions of everything from behind-the-scenes dealings in the Senate or his interactions with Richard Nixon... will provide a literary fix for even the hardest core political junkies... By compiling his writings and publishing many of them in Pure Goldwater, the editors have performed a great public service.” ―The Washington Times

“The policy thought on display here and throughout the book will by turns delight and infuriate every part of the political spectrum . . . No Goldwater fan can do without a copy . . . readers can get their fix of the unscripted, unghosted conscience of a conservative from Pure Goldwater.” ―Daniel McCarthy, Reason

“Goldwater's own words are readable, agree with him or not... entries are thoughtful, informed, even scholarly.” ―Theo Lippman, Jr., The Baltimore Sun

“An engaging memoir... [Goldwater's writings] include funny, salty remarks that add to the folksy style... The editors show Goldwater's ultimate success as being remembered as he hoped to be: 'an honest man who tried his damndest.' Recommended.” ―Karl Helicher, Library Journal

“Particularly interesting.” ―Arizona Republic

Pure Goldwater provides new insights into the man viewed by many as a founding figure in modern American conservatism. There's plain talk on a range of political issues here, but also personal glimpses... the journal entries about President Richard Nixon and Watergate are particularly eye-opening.” ―The Desert Sun


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (April 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403977410
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403977410
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,265,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of us of a certain age, Barry Goldwater was the prickly candidate for president in 1964, whose "extremism in defense of liberty" speech turned away millions of voters. But Goldwater stayed around long after that and it's a good thing he did. "Pure Goldwater", a neatly arranged compilation of his journal entries (along with some letters and speeches) reveals a much more complex and attractive man than the public got to know more than a generation ago.

The title of the book could not have been more appropriate. Here we see Senator Goldwater in all of his frankness, lambasting presidents with whom he worked, yet revelling in the love of his family, photography, flying and service to his country. In reading "Pure Goldwater" it's not hard to be in agreement with him on one page and subsequently want to wring his neck on the next. He seemed always to be on the cutting edge of the day's events, even when he was doing some of the "cutting", himself. It's fascinating to see him comment on every president from FDR to Clinton and there was much about most of them he didn't like.

Much of the book centers around his relationship with Richard Nixon and the trials and tribulations of Watergate and perhaps the most intriguing part of the book follows his recollections on summing up Nixon's chances in the Senate for impeachment survival. I remember that day well and how it changed my mind about Senator Goldwater. Here was a true statesman rising to the occasion in a most difficult time in our nation's history.

Barry Goldwater's seeming drift to the left regarding such issues as women's choice and gay rights no doubt sent shivers up and down the collective spines of his conservative colleagues.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Let me state from the get go that I am a Senator Goldwater and President Reagan style Republican.

What I think this books value is in 2008 is how it sheds alot of light on Senator Hillary Clinton who was a Goldwater girl as well as Senator John McCain who in his pre 2008 years was more Goldwater minded than most people know. But he has gone off course so badly and isnt the same open honest straight talking express man he once was.

Also of interest to me was how Libertarian minded Senator Goldwater was and not the conservative Republican of recent years which is right wing Christian close minded mode. I say this as a Christian who is Goldwater mode.

This is a book that anyone interested in sanity, smaller government, and Constitutional law should read. Sadly so many people probably see Goldwater as some right wing zealot. Thats President G. W. Bush, not Senator Goldwater.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Concerned US Citizen on April 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Dean and Barry Jr. have culled from the late Senator Goldwater's personal archive the most telling letters and journal entries imaginable. Barry Goldwater not only comes to life, he literally leaps off the pages, and his words are as relevant today as they were when he penned them. OF PARTICULAR note are the letters to Sen. John McCain, who actually took over Barry's seat in the Senate. WOW - very interesting and VERY enlightening. Who should buy this book? EVERYONE loved Senator Goldwater as well as his critics and all WHO ARE CONCERNED with the upcoming election and beyond that, the place of the USA in general. I strongly recommend this work. It is brilliant. It is Pure Goldwater!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 27, 2008
Format: MP3 CD Verified Purchase
I live here in AZ and allot of things here are named after Goldwater. Some streets, buildings and foundations. And living here 12 years I know nothing about him! Only that he was a senator. My curiosity got the best of me and I ordered this book (audio book so I can listen on my way to work). And in finishing this book I feel I have a very intimate, honest, and broad look in to Goldwater's life. From the lil notes that he jotted down that were discovered, to whole letters written to and from the president!... It really shook me at the core, very raw stuff. Goldwater really had some simple and firm beliefs that once I was exposed to it (this book), I am now a firm believer. To go a step further, I considered myself a Democrat. After exposure to Goldwater's thoughts on many issues I realized how dead wrong I was on my stance as a Dem. I actually think now that I am a Republican or even a Libertarian (can't believe I just said that). More to the point, I'm a Goldwater believer now. To think, I almost cast my vote down the wrong path, & I am glad that I read this book in time for the election.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By New Yorker on May 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What a Gem! Honest, thought-provoking, riveting and well-written. Pure Goldwater gives an insightful look at an important time in history. Entertaining and politically relevant during this election year. Conservatives will love it, and so will just about everyone else.
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