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Kennedy Versus Lodge: The 1952 Massachusetts Senate Race Hardcover – October 12, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this excellent book, Whalen (American history, Boston Univ.) tells the compelling story of one of the more interesting and important elections in modern U.S. history. John F. Kennedy's 1952 victory over Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. marked only the third time in Massachusetts history that a Democrat won a Senate seat. It also marked the beginning of Democratic dominance of the state. The book is rich in details about the candidates, the issues at play in the race, and the many factors that contributed to the Kennedy upset. The author's analyses of the roles played by Joseph McCarthy, Eisenhower, labor unions, and women voters are incisive. Whalen also makes clear the importance of the new medium of television in the campaign and JFK's natural ease with it compared with Lodge's discomfort. In some respects, this is a tale of politics of a bygone era, when two people of great talent and strong character could square off in an election without resorting to petty name-calling and emerge with their dignity and integrity intact. Perhaps this should be required reading for today's candidates. Recommended for public and academic libraries.DThomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes Barre, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

If John Kennedy hadn't beaten incumbent senator Henry Cabot Lodge (Massachusetts) in 1952, Adlai Stevenson might well have run for president a third time in 1960. The '52 race was notable not just because it pitted Boston's Brahmins against its rising Irish aristocracy but also because Kennedy defeated Lodge, despite Eisenhower's landslide presidential victory. Boston University historian Whalen analyzes the candidates, their campaign organizations, the intraparty squabbles they encountered, and the way each man approached the electorate. (Even in '52, for example, Kennedy paid attention to the new medium of television, and courted women voters.) An involving study. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Northeastern; First Edition edition (October 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555534627
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555534622
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,421,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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While there have been many books written about presidential campaigns, relatively few books have been written about important congressional campaigns. Thomas Whalen's "Kennedy versus Lodge" attempts to correct this bias by offering the reader a well-written, well-researched account of a truly historic US Senate race in Massachusetts between two of the most important political families in American history. Until 1952 the dominant political family in Massachusetts and New England was the Republican Lodge family, and they were far better-known and more distinguished than the Kennedys. The Lodges were descended from the original English, Puritan colonists who had settled Massachusetts in the 1600's, and they had made their millions in the nineteenth century while the Kennedys and other Irish Catholic immigrants to Boston were fighting just to survive. From the 1880's to the 1920's the family's most famous figure was Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. A close friend of Theodore Roosevelt and one of the most powerful men in Congress, Lodge led the fight to keep the USA out of the League of Nations and became President Woodrow Wilson's most hated enemy. Lodge also looked down his nose at the "grubby" Irish Catholic immigrants who were beginning to outnumber the older Protestant English families (called "Yankees" or "Brahmins") who had dominated Massachusetts politics since the United States became an independent nation. In 1916 Lodge faced a stiff challenge for his Senate seat by John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the popular Irish Catholic Mayor of Boston, and who was John F. Kennedy's grandfather. Lodge narrowly defeated Fitzgerald, thus beginning a great rivalry between the two families.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
As historian Robert Dallek explains in his forward, this is Thomas Whalen's debut and this work reflects that fact. The writing is sometimes wooden and some quotes are added more to impress the reader, or other historians, that Mr. Whalen went to the effort to interview some of the remaining survivors from that election half a century ago. However, Mr. Whalen's analysis is thoughtful. JFK's 51.5 %-48.5 % victory over Henry Cabot Lodge was historic in many ways. If he had lost, Jack Kennedy's presidential ambitions would most likely been crushed and he may have decided on another line of work. A Lodge victory may well have propelled him to a showdown with Richard Nixon for the 1960 Republican presidential nomination (and this would be dependent on Lodge being re-elected for Senate in 1958, one of the greatest Democratic years in election history). A Lodge Republican presidential nomination in 1960 would certainly have delayed the GOP's rightward turn that was to follow and may have altered the GOP for a generation or more. Ironically, by losing to Kennedy, Lodge would become Vice-President Nixon's running mate in 1960. The author is pretty clear about the reasons for JFK's narrow victory. Joseph Kennedy's money was of great use in this era of comparatively cheaply run elections. The Kennedy campaign charmed women voters with tea parties held by the Kennedy women and door-to-door campaigning. Eunice and Ethel were especially energetic. Lodge did not begin his own campaign until September, spending most of the summer working for the nomination of Dwight Eisenhower as the Republican presidential standard-bearer. Interestingly, Lodge's efforts for Ike angered the conservative Republican Massachusetts newspaperman Basil Brewer, who supported Robert Taft for the GOP presidential nomination.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Here is an engaging account of a seminal election campaign, the results of which would reverberate through Massachusetts and national politics for decades to come.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. was the grandson of an early 20th Century political titan and Teddy Roosevelt confidant, and in 1952, an accomplished, three-term Senate incumbent in his own right. John F. Kennedy was the upstart Congressman with star power: the charismatic war hero with a natural electoral base in the Bay State's sizable Irish Catholic community and plenty of Daddy's money to bolster his campaign.
Thomas Whalen tells the story of the election that would catapult Kennedy into national prominence and put him on the road to the White House eight short years later. Whalen explores many reasons for Kennedy's victory, including his assiduous courting of the women's vote, adroit use of the new television medium, and the electorate's strong affinity for an "Irish Brahmin."
Another major factor, according to Whalen, was Lodge's role in helping to engineer the Republican nomination for Dwight Eisenhower at the Republican convention. Lodge, who served as Ike's campaign chairman, earned the eternal enmity of the Taft loyalists, who meted out their retribution by openly siding with his Democratic opponent in the 1952 Senate campaign. Kennedy's position as an avowed Cold Warrior helped to facilitate the flight of Republican conservatives such as the influential newspaper publisher Basil Brewster into the Kennedy camp. Even Ike's superb showing at the top of the ticket -- he won Massachusetts handily -- could not carry the day for Lodge, who would never again hold elective office.
Lodge's defeat would signal the beginning of the end of Yankee Republican primacy, and cement Democratic hegemony in the Bay State.
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