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The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics second edition Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807125977
ISBN-10: 0807125970
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the title, this book is mainly an interpretive biography of former Alabama governor Wallace, with few revelations but more of a skeptical edge than Stephan Lesher's recent authorized bio, George Wallace: American Populist. (This book argues, contra Lesher, that Wallace did in fact vow not to be "out-niggered.") A history professor at Emory University, Carter (Scottsboro) has produced a detailed and readable account of Wallace?"the most influential loser in twentieth-century American politics"?as political animal, driven by ambition far more than by ideology, with a disarmingly folksy personal style. On the wrong side in so many civil rights-era clashes, from Bull Connor's brutality in Birmingham to the admitting of black students to the state university, Wallace nonetheless tapped the "Southernization" of suburban and ethnic white America, thereby fueling his two presidential bids. Though his crippling in a 1972 assassination attempt ended his political career, Wallace, as the author states in a coda, anticipated "the conservative groundswell that transformed American politics in the 1980s."
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Historian Carter's biography of the former Alabama governor and presidential candidate emphasizes Wallace's ability to exploit white racism and social conservatism to further his political career. It contends that he gave voice to themes that were to be used effectively by Republican politicians in their electoral victories of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Carter concludes that Wallace was the "most influential loser in twentieth century American politics." Another recent biographer, Stephen Lesher (George Wallace: American Populist, LJ 3/1/94), attributes to him an even wider influence?one affecting liberal and conservative politicians of both major parties. Carter's work has the more complete account of Wallace's administrations as governor and of his political campaigns, while Lesher's biography offers more insight into Wallace as a person. Academic libraries should have both volumes. For other collections, either would be an acceptable choice.?Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: LSU Press; second edition edition (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807125970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807125977
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Timothy B. Tyson on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Every year I teach this book for about 125 undergraduates in a course called "Race and American Politics from the New Deal to the New Right." Though it is a course that welcomes controversy, one thing that virtually all of my students agree upon is that this is a GREAT book. Carter, the dean of Southern historians, is a masterful storyteller with a matchless eye for detail and a balanced political judgment. He shows how Wallace, far from being just another Southern demogogue, opens the way to the transformation of American politics and the rise of a new conservatism whose wellsprings are the rage and fear of white Americans in the face of the civil rights revolutions of the 1950s and 1960s. It's a brilliant, absorbing book and every year when I read it again I am struck by the rich craft of Carter's prose and the deep thoughtfulness of his assessments.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent study on the political career of George Wallace, the former Alabama Governor famed for his stand against integration in the early 1960's and his subsequent runs for the Presidency. Carter portrays Wallace as a complex individual, who seems to have been motivated from the start more by ambition than principle. The book gives an extremely well researched and readable account of Wallace's early life, his family, friendships and formative experiences. Carter attempts to show that Wallace early on became politically ambitious for the Alabama Governor's office and that he originally adopted the stance of a moderate (for the time) southern populist, going so far as to refuse to break away from the Democratic party in 1948 and supporting Truman over Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrat party.

In the 1958 Alabama gubernatorial election Wallace was defeated by a more blatantly racist, segregationist opponent and vowed in a famed statement of racial epithet never to be the racial moderate in any future elections. True to his word he ran a 1962 campaign on the stance of continued defiance to federal government attempts to integrate Alabama schools and extend voting rights to the state's black population. Successfully elected, he made a national name for himself by his confrontations with the federal courts (including initially trying to defy or evade the court orders of man who had once been a good friend - Federal Judge Frank Johnson) and the Kennedy Justice Department. The book doesn't shy away from the resulting violence of some of Wallace's followers and the more extreme racist comments and actions of many of those who supported him in the 1960's.
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Format: Paperback
this book served as the springboard for investigating southern politics since 1965 for a graduate southern history seminar. one can only sit and marvel at the job carter does in discussing this very topic. it is not just the story of southern politics, but the tale of the "southernization of america." carter enters this academic debate, southernization vs. americanization, feet first and holds wallace up as the forbearer of reaganism and gingrichism. this will remain the authoritative account on this matter for some years. it is extremely hard, due to the solid scholarship, to argue with carter. some may want to say what about goldwater, but that is a difficult case to make. goldwater claimed the republican party no longer spoke his language once wallaceism entered the rhetoric. carter has refered to wallace as a "redneck poltergeist" and virginia durr believed wallace held so much promise, but was dismayed by wallace continuing his "politics of rage." a tellling read of this character that was geo. wallace. wallace is placed beside huey long as the most compelling political figure of the 20th century. and rightly so. a thorough study of southern, or american, history is incomplete without having read this book. this book stands with carter's scottsboro in terms of importance.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book, Dan Carter provides a wonderfully insightful examination of a man who perhaps more than any other has defined the course of contemporary American politics. An ambitious man from the start, Carter shows how Wallace tapped the growing uneasiness of many voters towards the profound changes taking place in American society after World War II, using it to win the governorship of Alabama as a defender of segregation. Though Wallace ultimately failed in his subsequent quest for the presidency on a similar platform, his campaigns introduced themes and tactics that would become staples of postwar American politics. In this passionate yet objective account, Carter succeeds in helping the reader understand both the man and what his candidacies represented, as well as their lasting effects on the nation.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Content is good but the Kindle edition of this book has numerous formatting issues. On practically every page spaces between words are omitted and occasionally entire sentences are repeated several times Very distracting
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can not put this book down. I don't recall reading any biography that I would classify a "page turner". Very thorough and obviously well researched, but not a slog. Just an absolute great read. Fascinating, evil person who impacted a lot in politics..
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