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The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics Hardcover – October 5, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1St Edition edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439158665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439158661
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,140,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Remembered equally as Jimmy Carter's Vice President and the man who lost the presidency to Nixon in the 1984 election, Walter Mondale re-establishes his place in political history as the man who redefined the vice presidency. Beginning with work on Humphrey's presidential campaigns during the ÿ40s and ÿ50s, Mondale's life in politics extends far beyond the White House and continues to this day. Spanning decades of Cold War suspicions, Vietnam controversy, and the tragic deaths of JFK and Martin Luther King Jr., it would be difficult to convey Mondale's life in politics as boring, but it is neither the events of the times nor the notable players, including Mondale's running mate, Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket, that make this life worth reading. Rather, it's Mondale's character, and readers will come away with a strong sense of it. His talk of care, concern, and compromise paints him as a true steward of the state. He acknowledges the public's loss of trust in its leaders, and continues to advise politicians in the Senate, House, governor's mansions, and even the White House. Mondale elucidates the values of the American people. (Oct.)

From Booklist

Mondale has been front and center during the major changes in American liberal politics since the civil rights era. He traces his own career—from an ambitious Minnesota attorney general to the U.S. Senate to vice president and presidential candidate and U.S. ambassador to Japan—as it reflected the changes in the political climate occurring within the Democratic Party and the nation. A longtime friend of liberal icon Hubert Humphrey, Mondale earned his liberal bona fides through work on major progressive issues, including civil and women’s rights, health care reform, and environmental conservation. He recalls the huge victories achieved by the Great Society (Head Start, Pell grants, Medicare, and Medicaid) when he was part of the overwhelmingly Democratic Senate under President Johnson and admits to the overreaching that later led to a backlash against liberal idealism. He traces the rise and fall of progressive politics through the Vietnam War era, the energy and hostage crises of the Carter administration (when he served as vice president), and the culture wars that led to the election of Ronald Reagan and continued to complicate American politics through the Bush-Cheney years. Mondale also offers a look forward at the Obama administration and the changes it represents in executing liberal ideals in an era of more pragmatic politics. --Vanessa Bush

More About the Author

Walter "Fritz" Mondale has been active in both Minnesota and national politics throughout his adult life. He served consecutively as Minnesota attorney general, U.S. senator, and U.S. vice president under Jimmy Carter, and was the democratic presidential nominee of 1984. In 1993 he was named U.S. Ambassador to Japan by William Jefferson Clinton. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Joan.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Richad of Connecticut VINE VOICE on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Loved it, absolutely loved it. First of all, a political biography is always biased, and you expect it to be. A person cannot spend 30 or 40 years living a political life, and at the end say, you know, I was all wrong. That's not why you read political biographies. We read such a book to get a better feel for the same period of time that WE lived through, and see if it adds new light on our own individual understanding of the history of that period.

I doubt if very many who did not live through the 60's and 70's will read this book, so why did I love it? I found it to be honest, candid, real, and just as I thought it would be. Mondale occupied five positions in his life, state attorney general of Minnesota, at 32 he was the youngest in his state's history. He was a United States Senator, Vice-President, Presidential candidate, and US Ambassador to Japan.

There are four words that characterize his life, and they come through on every page of this book. They are Decent, Thoughtful, Likable, and Underestimated. What he says about the Carter Administration where he served honorably as Vice-President can be said about his life. We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace. What more can one expect from a politician.

Before writing more, you need to know that many times I will read a 400 or 500 page book looking for that one paragraph or thought, or that one sentence that made the entire book worth reading. I found it on page 339 in his last chapter entitled, "Looking Forward". Mondale quotes Lincoln, and says the following:

"The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do for themselves, in their separate and individual capacities.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William E. Franklin on October 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr Mondale has written a book with candor, humility and integrity. What he has to say is interesting, informative, instructive and quite often reveals his wonderful sense of humor. He has been a remarkable public servant all of his life
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Truc on November 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mondale's account of a life in politics is a fascinating and nostalgic account of the days when people of good will and a desire to serve the public did not have to spend millions of dollars to buy an election, when civil discourse prevailed both on the campaign trail and in Congress and when single-issue demagogues did not pervert the legislative process by refusal to compromise for the greater good. Today, more than ever, we need men like Mondale in Washington - but today, more than ever, the such men of wisdom, foresight and compassion are unable or unwilling to enter or remain with that fray. A good read for folks of all political pursuasions as it is an example of the type of public servant we need to return to government if we are to appropriately deal with the issues confronting this country, both internally and internationally.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Former Vice President Walter Mondale has come out with a brand new, stunning account of his oft-underestimated political career. In this book Mondale writes about his time in the Minnesota halls of power, his role as Carter's number two and his own spectacularly disastrous yet honest run for president.

Much of Mondale's book is not just a rundown of the events during his political life but also an in-depth analysis of his times. Mondale, a protege of Hubert Humphrey (arguably one of the greatest presidents we never had), climbed nearly to the top in Washington during a transition: Democrats, long the occupants of the White House, were losing their hold on national elections. Thanks to the failures of Vietnam, the overreach of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society,and the chaos of civil rights, Republicans started to position themselves as the more sane and responsible party. The Republican comeback of 1968 (with Richard Nixon) and the conservative dominance of 1980 (with Ronald Reagan) ensured that Democrats, once the saviors of the nation styled after Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal policies, were now a fringe, out of touch with America and only electable to national office by fluke; Jimmy Carter's near miss was a result of Nixon's self destruction and Bill Clinton's mandate-less elections the result of GOP bumbling.

One thing I can appreciate about Mondale is his unswerving sense of duty. Just as he and Carter were wedded to fixing human rights abuses during their administration, they were focused on showing America as a compassionate nation, enough so to ensure the Iran Hostage Crisis, a result of letting a sick man into the nation for medical care.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By maguire on June 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Walter Mondale's political career was born in the rear view mirror of a progressive hurricane called Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey was a dynamo who transformed the state of Minnesota from in Mondale's words " a state with a long history of bigotry and anti-semitism" to a state that was an "incubator of progressive ideas". Mondale as a political younger brother was faced with the prospect of following a legend. Most would shrink from this responsibility, but Mondale summoned an inner strength that allowed him to follow a complementary path.

Nowhere near the outsized personality that Humphrey was , he was able to help chart a new and responsible progressive course for this country. In teaming with President Carter he was paired with an individual who had the same respect for the decency and honesty of the American people. Carter and Mondale were the first campaign to face the reactionary elements of the New Republican Party that packaged itself as the combination of Country Club Conservatives aligned with disaffected working class whites. That combination proved lethal for progressives in the 1980 election.

In 1984 Mondale running in his own right Mondale was able to secure the Democratic nomination after a spirited contest against Senator Garry Hart. In the coming weeks He threw two of the biggest "Hail Mary" passes in the history of the United States.The selection of the first female Vice President candidate in Geraldine Ferraro along with the proposal to raise income tax rates to close the rapidly escalating budget deficits caused by President Reagan's enormous tax cuts(from a 70% top bracket to a 28%) for the wealthiest Americans. He payed the price for being honest with the American people and lost all the states except for Minnesota.
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