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One Step from the White House: The Rise and Fall of Senator William F. Knowland
     

One Step from the White House: The Rise and Fall of Senator William F. Knowland

by Gayle B. Montgomery, James W. Johnson, Paul Manolis
 

During the Cold War years of the 1950s, William F. Knowland was one of the most important figures in American politics. As the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, the wealthy California newspaper heir was recognized and respected by millions. His influence with President Eisenhower led to Earl Warren's appointment as chief justice, and Knowland set in motion a

Overview

During the Cold War years of the 1950s, William F. Knowland was one of the most important figures in American politics. As the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, the wealthy California newspaper heir was recognized and respected by millions. His influence with President Eisenhower led to Earl Warren's appointment as chief justice, and Knowland set in motion a U.S.-China policy that remains part of our international direction today. Yet he committed suicide in 1974, following a personal decline that included political humiliation, a ruined marriage, and the loss of his family fortune.

This is the first full-scale biography of Bill Knowland, written by two journalists who came to know him after he left Washington in 1958. Gayle B. Montgomery was a political editor at the Oakland Tribune, the newspaper owned by Knowland's father, the power-wielding Joseph R. Knowland. James W. Johnson was a Tribune editorial writer. Both men worked with Knowland when he returned to the newspaper after giving up his Senate seat in a failed bid to become governor of California. Knowland lost the governorship race to Edmund G. (Pat) Brown; had he won, many observers felt Knowland would have had a clear shot at the White House.

This is a book not only about Mr. Republican, but also one that illuminates the strengths and deficiencies of Republican party politics during the years when the party was at its zenith.
In portraying the life of Bill Knowland, the authors cast a glaring light both on the machinations of political power and on the Republican establishment's aspirations in the Warren-Eisenhower era.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Authors Montgomery and Johnson worked as journalists at the Oakland Tribune, the newspaper once owned by the Knowland family, which originally propelled the Knowlands into California politics. Knowland served in the California assembly and the army before being appointed to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat in 1945. In 1957, he left the Senate to run for governor of California, losing in an avalanche of votes for Edmund G. "Pat" Brown. Knowland then experienced a personal decline that ended in a failed marriage and the loss of the family fortune. While the book is well written and researched, and Knowland's association with Earl Warren and Nixon provides some insight into those famous Californians, the reader must follow the tragic life of an "also ran." In the end, Knowland wound up taking his own life in despair in 1974. Recommended reading that will appeal to political historians or those interested in California politics.--Mark E. Ellis, Albany State Univ. Lib., Leesburg, GA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520211940
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
06/02/1998
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.25(d)

Meet the Author

Gayle B. Montgomery is a former political editor of the Oakland Tribune. He now lives in Concord, California. James W. Johnson is Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

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