books about 1945-1989 and 4
start with E
Elly Peterson: "Mother" of the Moderates
University of Michigan Press, 2012
Library of Congress F570.25.P47F47 2011 | Dewey Decimal 324.2092
"A magisterially written, well-researched, informative, and entertaining biography of a woman who helped throw open the doors to broader participation and power for women in the Republican Party and American politics."
---Dave Dempsey, author of William G. Milliken: Michigan's Passionate Moderate
"Elly Peterson will be a text to which historians and researchers turn for insight into the yin and yang of mainstream politics in the mid-century."
---Patricia Sullivan, past president, Journalism and Women Symposium
"This lively portrait of a leading woman in the Republican Party between 1952 and 1982 also charts the party's shift to the right after 1964, revealingly viewed through the eyes of liberal Republican women. Intensively researched with ethnographic attention to the subtleties of political culture, Fitzgerald's book is essential reading for anyone interested in how the Republican Party changed during the turbulent decades after 1960 and how women and women's issues shaped those changes."
---Kathryn Kish Sklar, Distinguished Professor of History, State University of New York, Binghamton
"Sara Fitzgerald tells Peterson's story in this superb and timely biography. It carries a message that deserves the widest audience as the nation struggles to find needed consensus on critical issues amid poisonous political partisanship that has made it increasingly difficult for public officials to bridge their differences. I hope that every American reads it."
---Pulitzer Prize winner Haynes Johnson, from the Foreword
"To understand the quest for equal rights in America you really need to meet those women who were active at the time of transition. In this gripping biography we meet one woman who entered a male dominated world and triumphed."
---Francis X. Blouin Jr., Director, Bentley Historical Library
"Sara Fitzgerald's writing is as intelligent as it is entertaining."
---Best-selling novelist Diane Chamberlain
Elly Peterson was one of the highest ranking women in the Republican Party. In 1964 she ran for a Michigan seat in the U.S. Senate and became the first woman to serve as chair of the Michigan Republican Party. During the 1960s she grew disenchanted with the increasing conservatism of her party, united with other feminists to push for the Equal Rights Amendment and reproductive choice, battled Phyllis Schlafly to prevent her from gaining control of the National Federation of Republican Women, and became an independent.
Elly Peterson's story is a missing chapter in the political history of Michigan, as well as the United States. This new biography, written by Sara Fitzgerald (a Michigan native and former Washington Post editor), finally gives full credit to one of the first female political leaders in this country.
When Peterson resigned in 1970 as assistant chairman of the Republican National Committee, David Broder of the Washington Post wrote that "her abilities would have earned her the national chairmanship, were it not for the unwritten sex barrier both parties have erected around that job."
EMPIRE REVOLUTION: THE UNITED STATES AND THE THIRD WORLD SI
PETER L. & MARY ANN HAHN & HEISS
The Ohio State University Press, 2000
Library of Congress D888.U6E46 2001 | Dewey Decimal 327.7301724
The Essential Paul Simon: Timeless Lessons for Today's Politics
Edited by John S. Jackson. Foreword by David Yepsen
Southern Illinois University Press, 2012
Library of Congress E83.5.S566 2012 | Dewey Decimal 320.973
One of the most admired public figures in Illinois’s history, journalist and politician Paul Simon dedicated his life to public service for more than four decades. During his lengthy and productive career, he often used his prolific writings as tools to establish a straightforward dialogue with his constituents. In The Essential Paul Simon: Timeless Lessons for Today’s Politics, editor John S. Jackson carefully selects the best of Simon’s decades of writings, which include newspaper columns, editorials, book chapters, and newsletters—works that, while written to address the challenges of Simon’s own era, still resonate with practical wisdom today. Jackson provides an introduction to each chapter, setting Senator Simon’s work into the context of its time and emphasizing the connection to today’s continuing political questions and conflicts. He also contributes an annotated bibliography covering all of Paul Simon’s twenty-two books which will prove to be a handy guide to Simon’s publications.
While Simon covered a broad spectrum of topics in his written works, his mission throughout the years remained the same: to urge his constituents to study and understand issues that affected their daily lives and to make the complexities of politics accessible to the average citizen. An indispensable volume for voters and politicians alike, The Essential Paul Simon compiles some of the most thought-provoking writings from one of the keenest political minds in our nation’s history. Years after their publication, Simon’s eloquent and energetic conversations continue to provide witty, informative guidance through the maze of American politics and inspire the development of spirited public discussion and debate.
Certificate of Excellence from the Illinois State Historical Society, 2013
Estes Kefauver: A Biography
Charles L. Fontenay
University of Tennessee Press, 1980
Library of Congress E748.K314F66 | Dewey Decimal 973.90924
Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2009
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Estes Kefauver was everywhere in politics and government. He ran for president twice, was the 1956 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, pioneered the use of television in Congressional hearings, and dug deep into many policy areas in the US Senate. Most students of politics or government have seen Kefauver's name, but there is surprisingly little comprehensive treatment of him as an individual and not as a part of a broader campaign, Senate history, or legislation. Charles Fortenay spent years trying to correct this vacancy in political biography. Fortenay's effort began during Kefauver's life, but took twenty-five years to get published and not in the form Fontenay had originally imagined.
But the product is a good one. Fontenay takes us from Kefauver's childhood in Tennessee, to his law career, to his service in the US House, to his campaign for the Senate, his pursuit of the presidency in the 1950s, and his legislative battles up to his early death in 1963. In doing so, Fortenay shows us the many paradoxes of Kefauver. Kefauver was a hard working, not particularly charismatic legislator. But he was also a great retail politician, embarrassing Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson in multiple primaries throughout the 1950s. He was a something of a liberal, but he also looked down at women and was a swing vote on civil rights (To be fair, as a southern senator being a swing vote in civil rights is better than most of his colleagues). Kefauver maintained a close family life despite his active political career, but cheated on his wife fairly openly. Kefauver was ethical and principled (except when it came to monogamy), refusing to cut political deals to win the presidential nomination or keep gifts, but he had a constellation of wealthy friends who paid his personal expenses and bought stock based on the findings of a Congressional investigation.
Any politician, really any person, studied so closely shows some wrinkles. Kefauver is no different. But overall, Kefauver was a hard worker, progressive particularly for his state, and helped democratize the nominating process. In those respects, he is a model for modern senators.
A few nitpicks about the book. First, Fontenay writes that a Congressman Reece died and was replaced by his wife by appointment. Reece's wife won a special election because there are no appointments to fill House vacancies. Second, Fontenay short changes some of Kefauver's policy battles, including presidential succession which is of particular interest to me.
That aside, Fontenay writes a great book. His sources are varied from many personal interviews, to Kefauver's letters, to the biographies of other senators. He manages to balance the many names and personalities and does a particularly good job of explaining the political convention intrigue of the 1950s.
I highly recommend this book to students of politics, government, and history. It fills a void in the literature with the tale of a significant senator of the mid-20th century.