Heroes, Hacks, and Fools: Memoirs from the Political Inside

Overview

Ted Van Dyk, a shrewd veteran of countless national political and policy fights, casts fresh light on many of the leading personalities and watershed events of American politics since JFK. He was a Pentagon intelligence analyst during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and an aide to Jean Monnet and other leaders of the European movement before serving at the Johnson White House as Vice President Humphrey’s senior advisor and alter ego. He was involved in that administration’s Great ...

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Overview

Ted Van Dyk, a shrewd veteran of countless national political and policy fights, casts fresh light on many of the leading personalities and watershed events of American politics since JFK. He was a Pentagon intelligence analyst during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and an aide to Jean Monnet and other leaders of the European movement before serving at the Johnson White House as Vice President Humphrey’s senior advisor and alter ego. He was involved in that administration’s Great Society triumphs and its Vietnam tragedy.

In the late 1960s, Van Dyk moved to Columbia University as vice president to help quell campus disorders which threatened the university. Over a period of 35 years he was a senior advisor to presidential candidates Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Ted Kennedy, Mondale, Hart, and Tsongas; contributed regular essays to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, and other national publications; and led two national think tanks. In 2001 the Bellingham, Washington, native returned to the Northwest to write a regular editorial-page column for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Van Dyk’s memoirs contain many previously untold stories from an historic period of national politics, portray brilliant and not-so-brilliant leaders and ideas, and also illuminate politics’ darker side. They bring to life the flawed realities and enduring opportunities of public policymaking in our time.

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Phoenix

Well worth the attention of political junkies, students of American history, or anyone else who wants to know how politics really worked in the glory days of the Democratic Party.... Too often our histories of politics are colored by political biases and attempts to shade the truth. To invoke an old cliché, Van Dyk tells it like it is. His memoir is a great read, a wonderful primer for those who might seek to enter politics themselves, and a terrific walk down memory lane. His idealism and honesty are reminders of what once made the Democratic Party great—- and could again.

Bellingham Herald

Van Dyk's book is a helpful primer on what goes on behind the scenes and a reminder that it's important to pick presidents with character as well as competence.

The Stranger

Ted Van Dyk is telling us exactly what happened and what he honestly thought about it. It's as pure a political memoir as we're ever likely to see.... [with] the kind of filthy detail that most political memoirs are too polite, and too deadly boring, to share.

Seattle Times

Heroes, Hacks, and Fools is about Democrats. It is a well-written and detailed autobiography..His story, particularly of the Humphrey-McGovern years, is one of the best accounts of that era in a long time.

Bookmonger: Kitsap Sun

It is precisely [Van Dyk's] willingness to stick his neck out, to study and opine and participate, that makes his arguments so compelling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295992341
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Series: A Samuel and Althea Stroum Book
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 846,654
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

1 Depression Kids 3

2 Caught Up in the Cold War 11

3 A New Generation Takes Over 16

4 Helping HHH 26

5 The Great Society 35

6 Vietnam and Little Else 43

7 1968 58

8 A Near Miss 84

9 In Transition 105

10 Crusade and Catastrophe 122

11 Strange Presidents, Nixon and Carter 149

12 The Counterrevolution Proceeds 181

13 Storm Cleanup and a New Storm 204

14 A New Jacksonian Era, Part One 227

15 A New Jacksonian Era, Part Two 237

16 Escape from the Capital 245

17 A New Century 259

18 Not the Same Country 267

19 Who Will Lead? 276

20 The Democratic Message 279

Epilogue 287

Index 292

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