Pols

Overview

In Pols, Jack Beatty presents a writer's portrait gallery of America's most famous and infamous politicians. Whether it's John Dos Passos' brilliant six-page treatment of the life of Theodore Roosevelt, H.L. Mencken on Warren Harding's vapid orotundity, Richard Hofstadter on Herbert Hoover's cult of the individual, Hodding Carter on the terrifying rise of Huey Long, Robert A. Caro on the lonely integrity of Sam Rayburn, Fred Greenstein on the subtle wisdom of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Rovere on Joe McCarthy the ...
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Overview

In Pols, Jack Beatty presents a writer's portrait gallery of America's most famous and infamous politicians. Whether it's John Dos Passos' brilliant six-page treatment of the life of Theodore Roosevelt, H.L. Mencken on Warren Harding's vapid orotundity, Richard Hofstadter on Herbert Hoover's cult of the individual, Hodding Carter on the terrifying rise of Huey Long, Robert A. Caro on the lonely integrity of Sam Rayburn, Fred Greenstein on the subtle wisdom of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Rovere on Joe McCarthy the liar, Mike Royko on a day in the life of Richard M. Daley, Lou Cannon on Ronald Reagan's use of humor, or James Fallows on the passionless presidency of Jimmy Carter, these and other classic pieces come at the American breed of politicians from every sort of angle.

Particularly at the height of this political season, it's both edifying and a joy to read some of America's greatest political biographers on a century of its most notable politicians. The writers in Pols show us the American politician in all their stripes - cowardly and brave, charismatic and enigmatic, in charge and lost at sea. Pols, a brilliant collection for the bookshelf or nightstand of any political junkie or fan of good writing, is a literary investigation into American political history at its earthiest and its most high flown.

Author Biography: Jack Beatty is a Senior Editor of the Atlantic Monthly and a News Analyst on the public radio program On Point from WBUR-Boston. He is the author of The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley, 1874-1958. His 2001 anthology, Colossus: How the Corporation Changed America, was named as one of the ten best business books of the year by BusinessWeek. Mr. Beatty is married, with one son. He lives in New Hampshire.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586480158
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 9/13/2004
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Tom Watson : rebel of a lost cause 1
Race, class, and party
William Jennings Bryan : gigantic troubadour 27
Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan : the campaign of eighteen ninety-six, as viewed at the time by a sixteen-year-old, etc
Theodore Roosevelt : legend 40
The happy warrior
James Michael Curley : scandal's mayor 46
The rascal king
Warren Harding : bloviator 74
Gamalielese
Herbert Hoover : our contemporary 79
Herbert Hoover and the crisis of American individualism
Huey P. Long : kingfish 113
Huey Long : American dictator
Sam Rayburn : integrity 132
Rayburn
Franklin Delano Roosevelt : man of the century 171
What made FDR great
Eleanor Roosevelt : reformer 187
ER, political boss
Harry S. Truman : grit 209
Fighting chance
Dwight Eisenhower : hidden hand 220
Ike's political strategies
Ike revisionism revised
John F. Kennedy : charisma 277
The existential hero
Lyndon B. Johnson : competing with FDR 297
Lyndon B. Johnson : in FDR's shadow
Richard Nixon : tricky 331
Tricky comforts a troubled citizen
Richard J. Daley : boss 350
Mayor Daley's day
Ronald Reagan : the uses of humor 372
Kidding on the square
Jesse Jackson : somebody 398
Marginal man
Tip O'Neill : liberal 422
Clash of titans
George H. W. Bush : what it takes 451
Science at Kennebunkport
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