Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond

Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond

by Jack Bass, Marilyn W. Thompson
     
 

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This rich, tell-all story combines academic precision and tabloid readability in portraying the life of Strom Thurmond, the century's most enduring American political figure.

A master politician and war hero, Thurmond's political career spans more than half a century. Although elected governor of South Carolina in 1946 as a liberal New Dealer, he established a

Overview

This rich, tell-all story combines academic precision and tabloid readability in portraying the life of Strom Thurmond, the century's most enduring American political figure.

A master politician and war hero, Thurmond's political career spans more than half a century. Although elected governor of South Carolina in 1946 as a liberal New Dealer, he established a national reputation as the segregationist Dixiecrat candidate for president in 1948. That campaign struck a psychological blow to the Democratic "solid South" that had existed since the Compromise of 1877.

At the same time Thurmond proclaimed there were "not enough troops in the Army" to break down segregation in the South, he provided support for an alleged black daughter enrolled at all-Black South Carolina State College.

Thurmond was shaped by his native Edgefield County, which produced ten governors of South Carolina. "Blood ran thicker and honor ran hotter in Edgefield, a county more Faulknerian than William Faulkner's and seared by a history of explosive political violence." Thurmond himself explained that his father probably would have been elected governor except "one time he had to kill a man."

Thurmond's political legacy rests on reshaping the Republican party and establishing a two-party South, playing a kingmaker role in electing Richard Nixon president, and in changing the direction of the United States Supreme Court.

OL' STROM is the definitive look at an American political legend.

Editorial Reviews

Phil Gailey
An engaging chronicle of his life and career, rich in human detail and political history.
NY Times Book Review
Florence King
It is impossible to decide which incident in Strom Thurmond's life constitutes his finest hour, but this affectional, unflinching biography is the place to find them all.
The American Spectator
Kirkus Reviews
The life (so far) of a master politician who daily sets new records as the US Senate's oldest and longest-serving member, now 96. Bass, an award-winning veteran South Carolinanbased political writer, and Thompson, an investigations editor at the Washington Post, portray the controversial Thurmond as an unusual man of great political and physical courage (never a fence-sitter). Though long past draft age, he signed up the day after Pearl Harbor, joining the 82nd Airborne and taking part in the D-Day invasion of Utah Beach; he was wounded and highly decorated after linking up with the bloodied 4th Division. The authors then follow Thurmond's long political career, from his governorship of South Carolina and his subsequent election to the Senate through his opposition to the Democratsn civil rights program and his ultimate abandonment of the Democrats for the Republican Party, through his later efforts to move with the times, obtaining every sort of federal assistance for his state. Bass and Thompson describe his reaching out to improve the lot of blacks and traditional black colleges. The book covers the nonagenarianns personal life, as well, including his two marriages to women decades younger than himself. In sum, Thurmond emerges from this portrait as that rarity, a politician beloved by his constituents.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570035142
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
01/02/2003
Pages:
359
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.06(d)

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