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Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism Hardcover – February 5, 2008

3.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bill Link's masterful biography of Jesse Helms lays bare the roots of his conservative politics grounded in his white supremacist childhood and documents Helms's influence in shaping the course of national politics. Exhaustively researched and crisply written, Link proves Helms's importance to the Republican Party's southern strategy at home and his exportation of conservative southern values into U.S. foreign policy.  This is fundamental reading for anyone interested in the rise of conservativism and politics in general in our time." -- Glenda Gilmore, Peter V. And C. Van Woodward Professor of History, Yale University

"Professor Link's fascinating political biography of Jesse Helms is also an authoritative study of the rise of the New Right.  Through Helms's career, we see the knitting together of the various strands of conservatism that account for Ronald Reagan's triumph in 1980, the Republican Party's Congressional revolution of 1994, and much else.  Vivid characters and important issues fill the pages of 'Righteous Warrior,' and the reader is eager to keep turning those pages."-- Sheldon Hackney, Boies Professor of US History, University of Pennsylvania

"Historian William Link captures in this incisive biography the complexity of Jesse Helms—a personally kind and charitable man who supported racial segregation; an affable and principled politician who played hard ball politics to get what he wanted; and a controversial symbol of the New Right in America, a hero to his followers and a demon to his enemies."           --Donald T. Critchlow, Author of The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History

About the Author

William A. Link is the Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida. He lives in Gainesville, Florida.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312356005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312356002
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas E. Boney, Jr. on November 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read with great interest, and much disappointment, the book by professor William Link, "Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism."

While the book relates some interesting episodes from the life and professional career of Senator Jesse Helms, it ultimately fails to capture the character of the man, falling victim instead to the obvious, politically liberal bias of the author (a member of Historians for Obama). In fact, Link's admiration for one of the Senate's most liberal members (THE most liberal, according to the National Journal Survey in 2008) should serve as caution enough about the prejudiced liberal leanings that inevitably influenced his biography on one of the Senate's most conservative members.

Under the guise of serious scholarship, Link skews his presentation - in a way that actually reveals his own biased viewpoint - selectively picking and choosing what he would include and what he would ignore in order to perpetuate his preconceived slant on a man he never met.

It was my privilege to work with Senator Helms for 12 of his 30 years in the U.S. Senate, and I scarcely recognize the man Link portrays. I remember being interviewed by Link more than a year before the book was published in preparation for his biography on the senator.

At the time, he portrayed himself as a professional and disinterested historian, who wanted to write a factual and objective portrait of North Carolina's longest-serving senator whom he considered had been pivotal in the development of modern-day conservative politics.

Imagine my surprise when I read in the preface to his book that, in fact, he came to his project not with any sort of academic neutrality but rather with a fundamentally liberal prejudice.
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Format: Hardcover
Good resource
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Format: Hardcover
Professor William Link's biography of Senator Jesse Helms and his influence on the rise of Modern Conservativism in America is a well-written, balanced, and thoroughly researched treatment of a significant man and his impact on the American political landscape.
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Format: Hardcover
A thick, boring book, not a biography at all; just a tenured professor spilling out his leftwing prejudices. It does, however, show how a white Republican can defeat a black Democrat: In 1990, Helms used the affirmative action issue to defeat Harvey Gantt, noting that Gantt, due to a set aside program, had a swimming pool and tennis court in his house. Jesse was a man of some means, but not that wealthy! Jesse Helms was a Republican who knew how to win elections. I am, however, disgusted that Helms's former aides on Capitol Hill agreed to talk to Link.
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