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Barry Goldwater: Native Arizonan

Barry Goldwater: Native Arizonan

by Peter Iverson

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Iverson (history, Arizona State Univ.), the author or editor of six books about Native Americans, offers here a brief biography of the longtime senator, 1964 Republican presidential candidate, and singular leader of modern conservatism. Though his book lacks the depth and insight of Lee Edwards's Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution (LJ 7/95) or Robert Goldberg's Barry Goldwater (LJ 12/95), Iverson candidly and favorably recounts the circumstances of Goldwater's life and political career. He treats fairly the most famous event of Goldwater's career, the 1964 election, recording the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign. The book discusses at length Arizona geography, economic development, and Goldwater's role in attracting business to the 48th state. Recommended primarily for public libraries, especially in the Southwest, because of its excellent treatment of Goldwater's advocacy on behalf of Native American tribes, and as a biography suitable for young adults.Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Kirkus Reviews
A biography of a nationally prominent politician that emphasizes the local.

Retired US senator Barry Goldwater has been the subject of several recent biographies, most concentrating on his influence in national conservative politics and military affairs. Iverson (History/Arizona State Univ.) deals with those issues, but he is more concerned with Goldwater's origins as a native Arizonan and the long shadow he casts on local politics even today. Iverson traces Goldwater's several careers, as a department-store operator (the family business being a legacy from Goldwater's grandfather Morris, a Jewish pioneer who came to Arizona in the 1850s), as an airplane pilot, as a soldier, and as a politician, first as a member of the Phoenix city council and then as a national figure. In all these endeavors Goldwater labored to see Arizona develop as an economic power, and he was successful: In tourism and natural-resources extraction and as an outpost of the military-industrial complex, the state leads the Southwest, largely thanks to Goldwater's lobbying. At the same time, Goldwater preached a message of antifederalism and state's rights, decrying such things as "the aping of socialism and the appeasing of the Communists of Russia" (this during the conservative Eisenhower administration) and galvanizing the political right in the process. Iverson analyzes with special care local aspects of Goldwater's 1964 run for the presidency, and he attributes Goldwater's resounding loss (he barely carried even Arizona) in part to the ineptitude of his Arizona-drawn campaign team at the national level. Despite the loss, Iverson writes, Goldwater paved the way for the triumph of conservatism that would manifest itself with Ronald Reagan's election 16 years later.

Although it's of rather narrow interest, Iverson's book is a highly useful addition to the study of Arizona politics.

Product Details

University of Oklahoma Press
Publication date:
Oklahoma Western Biographies Series
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.77(d)

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