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Comment: Fine. Cloth, D-j. 2007. Originally published at $36.95.
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Senator Sam Ervin, Last of the Founding Fathers (Caravan Book) Hardcover – November 19, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Excellent. . . . Highly recommend[ed]. . . . Extensively researched and documented, gracefully written, and includes a variety of photographs and illustrations.--Winston-Salem Journal

A persuasive and fresh perspective on southern and North Carolina politics. . . . Well organized and crisply written... the most important book on Sam Ervin.--North Carolina Historical Review

Striking detail. . . . A vivid and telling narrative. . . . We should be thankful that Campbell has forcefully introduced a long-neglected figure into the historiography of regional and national politics.--Journal of Southern History

In a biography of Ervin . . . Karl Campbell wrestles with [many] questions as he charts Ervin's life from his birth in Morganton to its climax in 1973-74 when he became America's folk hero as chair of the Senate Watergate hearings. . . . Campbell's compact description of Ervin's pre-Senate life is interesting and entertaining.--Chapel Hill News

Campbell succeeds splendidly in threading the historical needle. . . . A sophisticated, clear-eyed and evenhanded biography . . . that is likely to stand the test of time as the best work on one of North Carolina's most famous sons. . . . Adds immeasurably to our understanding of the state and its politics.--The News and Observer

Campbell's gripping biography of Ervin uncovers the road to Watergate from his Senate appointment in 1954 and explains how this Bible-quoting country lawyer from North Carolina became the leading defender of civil liberties in the Senate.--Our State

The book is an evenhanded look at 'a man full of paradoxes.' --Carolina Alumni Review

Contributes to the growing scholarship on the southern white response to the civil rights era. . . . [An] excellent study.--Journal of American History

Campbell covers . . . Ervin's career admirably.--Metrobooks

A welcome addition to the understanding of Ervin's southern mind. . . . Highly recommended.--Choice

Will interest those who follow southern political history.--Georgia Historical Quarterly

Karl E. Campbell . . . has written a biography about the late Ervin so that a new generation of people can be introduced to 'Senator Sam.' --Appalachian State University News


Rescuing Sam Ervin from the cliches that have marked much of what has been written about him, Campbell shows areas of continuity: Ervin's consistent apprehensions about the dangers of concentrated power and his defense of the individual's zone of privacy long before the courts recognized such a right. At the same time, Campbell captures the way in which Ervin's positions evolved over time and places him squarely in the context of his community, his state, and his region. This book should be of interest even to people who may not care a whit about Sam Ervin, because Campbell has so skillfully shown the culture of Ervin's lifetime and how it shaped him and his generation.--Dan T. Carter, University of South Carolina, author of The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics

This is a masterful political biography. Karl E. Campbell's beautifully written biography of Senator Sam Ervin is a first-rate achievement. Campbell persuasively shows how Ervin's experiences in North Carolina shaped his Senate career as an opponent of civil rights as well as a supporter of civil liberties.--Merle Black, co-author of Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics

Few U.S. Senators ever achieve the fame of North Carolina's Sam Ervin, whose punishing inquiry into the perfidies of the Nixon Administration brought down a President. Ervin became a hero to millions, but as Karl Campbell demonstrates in this carefully crafted, illuminating biography, Ervin was not the progressive saint of 1970s legend. There were few leaders better on civil liberties, few worse on civil rights. Campbell gives us both sides of Ervin, and his even-handed treatment enables us to reach our own judgment on this brilliant, complicated man.--Larry J. Sabato, director, Center for Politics, University of Virginia, author of A More Perfect Constitution


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Product Details

  • Series: Caravan Book
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1St Edition edition (November 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807831565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807831564
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,435,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
dr campbell did excellent research on this old school southern democrat and his book extolls the senator's virtues, reveals his segregationist flaws and most importantly demonstrates his charming wit. an excellent read!

gary e
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Prof. Campbell succeeded in bringing out an excellent biography which is a pleasure to read. The work is scholarly and well researched. What emetges is as objective as possible portrait of (to me) a perfect Southern anachronism: how a small town lawyer, by dint of regional circumstances, drawing on local connections and personal charm became a national figure of measurable prominence.
At the same time, the book is very well written and will delight both a student of NC history and any dedicated reader (are not all readers dedicated?). While personal opinions of Sen. Ervin may vary, the picture which emerges from the book is a clear and sharply drawn portrait of a honest man dedicated to long-gone ideals, a slightly bigoted reactionary with excellent manners and a great dose of personal charm, and moderate scholarly resources. In other words, a perfect Southern gentleman of the old school.
I do have a slight doubt if Sam Ervin would actually feel very comfortably in the company of Jefferson, Madison and Franklin. He most certainly would gain their understanding and perhaps some tolerance and by a sligt stretch of imagination could easily be counted among the founding fathers.
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Format: Hardcover
A great bio on Sam Ervin. One can see what motivated his decisions and lead him to becoming a senator for 20 years. Campbell does a great job in his writing style making the book an easy read. Definitely recommend this to anyone looking for some history reading.
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