Fulbright: A Biography

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J. William Fulbright was the second most successful Oxford-educated politician to come from Arkansas. Author of the Fulbright-Connally resolution that committed the United States to participating in the U.N., and creator of the exchange program that bears his name, Fulbright was the longest serving chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This volume describes the family dynamic, educational process, and environments--Arkansas, Oxford, Washington, D.C.--which produced this remarkable man. It delves into his complex attitude toward race and details Fulbright's role in the civil rights movement. The narrative includes the major international events of the Cold War era--the Suez Crisis, the U-2 incident, the Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis, Vietnam, the ABM controversies, the Arab-Israeli conflict--and Fulbright's role in them. Woods explains Fulbright's shift from a champion of executive power in foreign affairs to a defender of congressional prerogatives.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...the exhaustive research, clear prose, and mature scholarship make this book the definitive account of Fulbright's life." H-Net Book Review

"...Woods's excellent biography provides a detailed account of Fulbright's life and political career. Gracefully written and well researched, Woods's study is sympathetic to Fulbright but independent in its judgements." American Historical Review

"...a superb life-and-times biography of one of America's leading senators of the twentieth-century, J. William Fulbright of Arkansas....Wood's study is likely to remain virtually definitive for many years to come." Georgia Historical Quarterly

"An engrossing biography..." Foreign Affiars

"...Woods wisely resists the temptation to make the crooked lines straight. ...Wood's biography--which, like Fulbright's career, is long but never dull..." The New Republic

"Because Fulbright has been one of the most important and controversial figures in 20th-century American politics, and certainly, foreign policy, this biography has long been needed. Woods has given us a most significant account, for he has a sure grasp of the larger foreign and domestic issues, the sources (especially the Fulbright papers), and Arkansas politics with which Fulbright had a love/hate relationship and where his mother was a forces as a newspaper editor. And the book is as readable as it and its subject are important." Walter LaFeber, Cornell University

"J. William Fulbright was one of the most diversely intelligent legislators of his time. He had a wonderful will to urge what was right, reverse himself on the rare occasion when he was wrong, and to annoy deeply the more rigid of the world's stuffed shirts. This fine book tells it all, and to one's true delight." John Kenneth Galbraith, Harvard University

"Chapter after chapter, I found myself wishing that Fulbright had been listened to, that his voice had carried farther--on Vietnam, the Middle East, overcommitment abroad, militarism, Soviet-American d├ętente, the imperial presidency. What a different history--certainly less destructive and more progressive from that contained in this fair-minded book--we would have had if the advice of the outspoken senator from Arkansas had been heeded." Thomas Paterson, author of Contesting Castro: The United States and the Triumph of the Cuban Revolution and Professor of History, University of Connecticut

"The book is through--almost every page has an interesting bit of information." Arkansas Democratic Gazette

"Randall Woods, a distinguished diplomatic historian at the University of Arkansas, has written a thoughtful and thorough biography of one of America's most outspoken United States Senators....Based on extensive archival research and oral histories, Woods' meticul;ous study is likely to join William Berman's William Fulbright and the Vietnam War (1988) in becomming on eof the standard accounts of Fulbright and postwar American foreign policy." Robert K. Brigham, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
James William Fulbright (1905-1995), Arkansas senator from 1945 to 1975, emerges as a deeply contradictory figure in this engrossing, fairminded biography: an internationalist and opponent of McCarthyism and American involvement in the Vietnam War, he was also a staunch segregationist. The son of a hardheaded, Progressive-era businessman and a mother who, as a crusading journalist and reformer, took on the Arkansas political establishment, Fulbright developed a faith in rationality, progress and social engineering. He championed the United Nations, created the international academic exchange program that bears his name, advocated a land-for-peace deal as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and did battle with ``true believers'' as he called McCarthyite anti-communists and white supremacists. Powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1959-1974), he eventually became a chief critic of the liberal internationalist cause he had espoused from the 1940s through LBJ's reign, arguing that it had allied itself with American imperialism and a wasteful military-industrial complex. Woods, a University of Arkansas history professor, interviewed Fulbright extensively, as well as Robert McNamara, George McGovern and others, for this revealing unauthorized biography. Photos. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521482622
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2014
  • Pages: 733
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Of poets, Prussians and plutocrats; 2. Oxford; 3. First family of Fayetteville; 4. A political education; 5. Taking the stage; 6. The conscience of a conservative internationalist; 7. European federation and trickle-down integration; 8. 'Washington's cleanup man'; 9. The enemy within; 10. The junior senator from Arkansas; 11. Massive retaliation, Suez, and the struggle for an alternative foreign policy; 12. Little Rock and foreign aid; 13. A changing of the guard; 14. Camelot and Cuba; 15. 'Freedom's Judas-goat'; 16. A creative tension; 17. Of myths and realities; 18. Avoiding Armageddon; 19. Escalation; 20. Texas hyperbole; 21. The hearings; 22. The politics of dissent; 23. Widening the credibility gap; 24. The war in Washington; 25. 'The price of empire'; 26. Denouement; 27. The politics of a Dixie dove; 28. Nixon and Kissinger; 29. Of arms and men; 30. Struggle for the vital center; 31. Sparta or Athens?; 32. Cambodia; 33. A foreign affairs alternative; 34. Privileges and immunities; 35. Divided minds; 36. The invisible wars; 37. Dancing with Henry; 38. Broken fences; 39. Life after office; 40. Conclusion; Index.
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