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Everett Dirksen and His Presidents: How a Senate Giant Shaped American Politics Hardcover – September 5, 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Formidable legislator and frustrated Shakespearean actor, Everett Dirksen, has received the recognition he is due. . . A splendid new political biography." --David Broder

From the Back Cover

"A thoroughly engaging, judiciously presented, and richly documented study of a pivotal figure in Cold War era American political history. Hulsey demonstrates full command of his material; has located and effectively mined the rich but widely scattered primary sources; and has skillfully fashioned a smoothly flowing narrative likely to appeal to a sizeable audience."--Richard A. Baker, director of the United States Senate Historical Office and author of The Senate of the United States: A Bicentennial History

"A lively and perceptive study of an important and colorful Republican leader that greatly enhances our understanding of congressional politics in the 1960s."--Robert A. Divine, author of America Past and Present and Eisenhower and the Cold War

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700610367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700610365
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Iaco on January 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was attracted to this book looking to expand my knowledge of a key historical figure, who three decades after he left the stage, is perhaps best recalled for the quote (perhaps apocryphal): "a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon we're talking about real money."
Byron Hulsey's work is less a biography than a chronicle of Dirksen's long career in public life. Certainly, we are provided some basic details on his upbringing, personal life, and political campaigns. However, the overwhelming focus is on Senator Dirksen as a practitioner of "supra-partisan" politics, a term Hulsey coins to capture the period of political consensus and harmony that extended from the late 1950s through most of the 1960s. Hulsey depicts, time and again, how Dirksen, the Republican leader in the Senate, collaborated with the Democratic Kennedy and Johnson administrations to forge legislation and advance America's interests during the Cold War.
The election of Richard Nixon in 1968, Hulsey observes, ended the supra-partisan consensus, and ushered in a new period of acrimony and heated partisan division that continue to mark public life to this day. The ascension of a younger generation of legislators -- less deferential to the genteel traditions of the Senate -- and the aggressive Investigative Journalism ethic were contributing factors in the demise of supra-partisianship.
Fittingly, Hulsey observes, three major exponents of supra-partisanship passed from the public stage within a year of each other -- LBJ through retirement and Eisenhower and Dirksen through death.
This book opens a window on a bygone era, and will make for enjoyable reading for anyone interested in the workings of Washington, DC in the 1950s and 1960s.
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By A Customer on November 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Hulsey's analysis of the political culture in which Senator Everett Dirksen was both a major influence and eager participant is especially timely. Anyone interested in today's partisan climate (becoming more partisan with each pregnant chad) will enjoy reading about the politics of Dirksen's day. Hulsey argues convincingly that "supra-partisanship" allowed for the passage of major legislation, particularly in the area of civil rights, that would have been impossible without the real cooperation of both Republicans and Democrats. This is a very thoughtful look at American politics in the fifties and sixties and the engaging story of a senator whose main conviction was flexibility.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's just like the current dramatic political controversies between Republicans and Democrats, and the many opposing economic, social, individualist, collectivist ideas in our country. The book brings to life the nuts and bolts behind compromise vs. principle, in a past time of upheaval in our country. The author really depicts the personality of Senator Dirksen and why a staunch Republican was still able to generate legislation without gridlock. A great example for the political enigmas of 2011. Well written, scholarly, but still approachable. There is a lot of detail that may seem unnecessary, but on a second reading, I am glad the facts are there to back up the more general concepts.
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Format: Hardcover
Hulsey manages to make a fascinating period of our history boring. His writing is plodding, and minor factual errors seem to have slipped through the editing process.
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