ISBN-10:
067401877X
ISBN-13:
2900674018777
Pub. Date:
01/20/2006
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Private Lives/Public Consequences: Personality and Politics in Modern America / Edition 1

Private Lives/Public Consequences: Personality and Politics in Modern America / Edition 1

by William H. Chafe
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  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 2900674018777
    Publisher: Harvard University Press
    Publication date: 01/20/2006
    Edition description: New Edition
    Pages: 432
    Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

    About the Author

    William H. Chafe is Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, and former Dean of the Faculty, at Duke University

    Table of Contents

    Introduction

    1. The Roosevelts: A Partnership Unprecedented

    2. Martin Luther King Jr.: Toward the Promised Land

    3. John F. Kennedy: From Detachment to Engagement

    4. Robert F. Kennedy: Despair and Commitment

    5. Lyndon Baines Johnson: A Need for Consensus

    6. Richard M. Nixon: Genius and Paranoia

    7. Ronald Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime

    8. The Clintons: A Flawed Co-Presidency

    Conclusion

    Bibliographical Essay

    Acknowledgments

    Index

    What People are Saying About This

    Richard Polenberg

    The strength of this work lies in the intelligent way Chafe draws on the most recent scholarship to formulate an argument about the relationship between political leaders' "character" and the decisions they make. Each chapter offers a fresh, insightful take on the crucial life experiences that influenced political figures from the Roosevelts to the Clintons.
    Richard Polenberg, Cornell University

    Rarely has one book provided so much insight into the personal convictions, tragedies, and demons that have shaped the careers of America's greatest political leaders. William Chafe writes about his subjects with passion, lucidity, and an appreciation for the mix of moral strength and carnal weakness, soaring vision and paralyzing paranoia, and sincerity and artifice that both elevated our leaders and brought them down. A gripping read from beginning to end.

    Linda K. Kerber

    It is hard for anyone to say anything new about the people about whom William Chafe writes--Martin Luther King, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, John and Robert Kennedy, Hillary and Bill Clinton. But in this compelling book, one of the finest historians of our time reveals their unfamiliar shadows, showing us their deep and complex humanity and, at the same time, showing us much that we need to understand about American political life. A joyful and heartbreaking book.
    Linda K. Kerber,
    author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship

    Gary Gerstle

    Rarely has one book provided so much insight into the personal convictions, tragedies, and demons that have shaped the careers of America's greatest political leaders. William Chafe writes about his subjects with passion, lucidity, and an appreciation for the mix of moral strength and carnal weakness, soaring vision and paralyzing paranoia, and sincerity and artifice that both elevated our leaders and brought them down. A gripping read from beginning to end.
    Gary Gerstle, author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

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    Private Lives/Public Consequences: Personality and Politics in Modern America 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
    derekstaff on LibraryThing 5 months ago
    An interesting examination of the ways in which the personal, private lives of leaders effects their public lives and leadership.
    PointedPundit on LibraryThing 5 months ago
    I will admit this book left me confused.It is not that William H. Chafe failed to articulate his point. Quite the contrary, the history professor and former faculty dean at Duke University communicates his theme clearly and concisely. His premise ¿ that childhood events mold and influence the direction, personality and life choices of our national leaders ¿ is an intriguing thought.It is, however, not history. Historians ¿ and Dr. Chafe is a distinguished one ¿spend their hours probing primary sources for clues of how social movements swept up individuals and used them in their dialectic march towards a preordained future. Once done with their research, historians then hide their conclusions in books and articles distinguished by long couplings of footnote-festooned, incomprehensible complex-compound sentences. That is not this book. There are no primary sources; there are no footnotes. You can read these provocative essays and understand them. The author admits it is a departure from his academic training and practice.Based on his reading and observations, Dr. Chafe offers his thoughts on how the personal lives and political fortunes of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Hilary and Bill Clinton intersected to shape the United States.For the moment, I will discount the fact that the author was three years old when Franklin Roosevelt died. This book is a fascinating read. As a professor of modern American history, I have no doubt Dr. Chafee has read many books on his subjects. His observations deserve a thoughtful consideration. It is difficult to document the psychological influences on a life. Nevertheless, Dr. Chafee produces poignant portrayals of vision and paranoia; moral strengths and weakness; sincerity and artificiality. I admit my Hegelian biases. They grow stronger as I age. Yet, I do not find it a stretch to believe the Muse of history recruits individuals it has equipped with the tools and experiences it required to continue its movement. History or not, this book will spark a new appreciation of the joys and heartaches of our country¿s recent past. Penned by the Pointed PunditOctober 23, 20068:55:02 AM