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Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel (Galaxy Book)

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195007077
ISBN-10: 0195007077
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A model of its kind....A sympathetic understanding of broad social movements, a mature appreciation of character, an original interpretation of economic facts and factors, an incisive criticism of political techniques, and a literary style that is always vigorous and sometimes brilliant."--Henry Steele Commager, New York Herald Tribune Books


"Constitutes the best one-volume history that has appeared of that first crop of social ideals politically garnered in Populism....Also valuable in that it is something more than the story of Populism. It is a striking portait of a man."--W.A. White, Saturday Review of Literature


About the Author

C. Vann Woodward is at Yale University (Emeritus).
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Product Details

  • Series: Galaxy Book
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 31, 1963)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195007077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195007077
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By E. Martin on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Woodward, the dean of southern historians, was the author of numerous definitive works on the south from 1865-1900, including THE STRANGE CAREER OF JIM CROW and ORIGINS OF THE NEW SOUTH. He won the Pulitzer prize for editing the diaries of Mary Chestnut, but he probably deserved it for this, his first work. Woodward was a master prose stylist, but I don't quite think he ever quite matched this book in wit and irony. The first half of the book is replete with CHARACTERS worthy of Anthony Trollope, John Brown Gordon, the "plumed knight of Appomattox" and main player in one of the great stock market scandals of the day; Joe Brown, the former confederate governor of Georgia also known as "Old Judge-MENT"; Alexander H. Stephens, the former vice-president of the Confederacy and a force to be reckoned with even in declining health; and last but not least Robert Toombs, a TRUE unreconstructed rebel, who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Union after the war, who hated the railroads (and the use of public funds in their development) almost as much as he hated the North. Even though he was unable to hold public office, he maintained influence just by his force of personality. Above them all is Watson, a man who loves (and hates) not wisely but too well. A man of infinite paradoxes. An apologist for the "old south" who proclaimed the common interests between black farmers and white farmers. A white man who, more than once, would defend black political allies from lynching, but later would be the most vociferious defender of the practice. A crusader against corporations, he would grow fearful of socialism. A democrat with authoritarian personality. A man of the people who was one of the largest landowners (and landlords) in Georgia.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Watson's story is a fantastic one, and this book tells it well. This book is superlative to follow Georgia politics in years Watson affected it. One is totally repelled by Watson after 1904, not only by his vicious anti-Catholicism but even worse by his role in the Leo Frank case. This book is a sheerly interesting book about an awful man. It is of interest that Woodward describes Autobiography: The Story of an Old Man's Life, by Nathaniel E. Harris as "one of the most remarkable books ever written." I wonder where I can find the book.
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Format: Paperback
Woodward was a master, and is sorely missed. Tom Watson is an epic and tragic story of a man, and the history of Populism as a movement, with all the aspirations and limits of American democracy. The single best work of history i have ever read. If it is out of print, that is a true shame.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Woodward explains a quirky and contradictory politician in a way that makes his career understandable to us today. Even his later life,when he slipped to the dark side,is rendered in a way to make the reader see our own darker leaders in a sympathetic light.
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Format: Paperback
Jimmy Carter has always referred to the demagogic Tom Watson as a political mentor. Hardly surprising since Watson was a phoney and a bigot who began his career supposedly championing Poor Whites - AND - Blacks, and ended it an acolyte of the Ku Klux Klan, a Jew-baiter, Catholic hater, a political hack of the Segregationist Democratic Party and unrepentent Racist who "stabbed" the backs of the very Blacks he once claimed to be as friends. His notorious role in the judicial murder of Leo Frank*, as Woodward related, was especially repugnant. In effect, Watson called for mob rule - and chortled "Jewish Libertines take Notice" after Frank, who was innocent of the murder of Mary Phagan, was judicially murdered by a bunch of Watson's minions and hired thugs.

Carter of course started off in reverse, but there is really no difference between the two outside of their half-baked, suiting their needs "Liberalism". Watson was a coward and a bigot, Carter no different.

Woodward also gives the reader an overview of post-Reconstruction Georgia, with cast of characters including John Gordon, the Confederate General who became a U.S. Senator, pledging loyalty to the United States, yet in effect continuing the policy of the Confederacy including ensuring that Black Americans lived little better than slaves. A fertile breeding ground for a Watson - and later, Lester Maddox and James Earl Carter Jr.

*p.s. Frank was innocent, and the courageous Governor Slaton chose to commute the death sentence pushed by Watson. By doing so, however, Slaton was forced to flee Georgia when his life was threatened by Watson's minions and by the Klan, leaving Frank to a horrible fate. Many years later, the true killer of Mary Phagan confessed. It is interesting though, that Mr. Carter NEVER signed a posthumous pardon for Mr. Frank. It was finally signed by his successor in office.
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