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Big Daddy [electronic resource] : Jesse Unruh and the art of power politics /
Bill Boyarsky.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
description
xi, 265 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520219678 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780520219670 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
isbn
0520219678 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780520219670 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
11257239
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 225-247) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Jesse Unruh was a remarkable phenomenon in American politics, a figure of tremendous energy and intelligence, with flaws to match. Although he never held public office beyond his home state, his institutional creativity as Speaker of the California Assembly and as State Treasurer had nationwide impact. Bill Boyarsky followed Unruh's career from the early days, and has produced a careful, fair-minded, and appreciative portrait without neglecting skeletons in the closet, buried bodies, and other colorful details of California politics that only a long-term, well-informed observer could provide."--Nelson Polsby, University of California, Berkeley "Jesse Unruh was California's most flamboyant and influential legislator. He has a worthy biographer in Bill Boyarsky, one of the state's best-ever political reporters. Boyarsky has written a lively treasure of a book that is at once critical and sympathetic: he unflinchingly describes Unruh's larger-than-life flaws but gives him deserved credit as an effective populist who wrote civil rights and education laws that were well ahead of their time. Beyond biography, this fascinating book provides a revealing examination of a state capitol culture that has been swept aside by the modern era of term limits and lavish campaign spending. Boyarsky writes about a vanished time when people cared about politics, and politicians like Unruh also cared about the people."--Lou Cannon, author of "Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power" ""Big Daddy" is the gripping real-life story of Jesse M. Unruh and the development of California following WWII. Boyarsky reveals how Unruh's multi-faceted character shaped his significant contributions. He was an institutionbuilder who created a professional legislature and a passionate centrist who promoted civil rights, shareholder rights, and a responsible system of educational financing and accountability. This page turner pulls no punches in describing the complexities of the man and his times and their relevance for today's divisive politics."--Ann N. Crigler, chair of the Department of Political Science, University of Southern California "If Bill Boyarsky had merely written about "Big Daddy" Unruh, one of the most powerful California politicians of the 20th Century, this would have been a valuable book. Jesse comes alive in all his bullying bulk and commitment to progressive public policy. But Boyarsky's work is much more than that. It is a close-up look at California's Capitol when it consistently worked, not always in a pretty way. Those politicians may have sinned, but they definitely succeeded in meeting the needs of a fast-growing state. This is an enjoyable read with many lessons."--George Skelton, "L.A Times "State Political Columnist "Only a seasoned reporter such as Bill Boyarsky would have the insight and skill to chronicle the life and times of this flamboyant but enigmatic politician, this gruff giant, this wizard of the legislative process, this ardent advocate and fierce opponent, the late great Jesse Unruh."--Kevin Starr, Professor of History, University of Southern California
Flap Copy
"Jesse Unruh was a remarkable phenomenon in American politics, a figure of tremendous energy and intelligence, with flaws to match. Although he never held public office beyond his home state, his institutional creativity as Speaker of the California Assembly and as State Treasurer had nationwide impact. Bill Boyarsky followed Unruh's career from the early days, and has produced a careful, fair-minded, and appreciative portrait without neglecting skeletons in the closet, buried bodies, and other colorful details of California politics that only a long-term, well-informed observer could provide."--Nelson Polsby, University of California, Berkeley "Jesse Unruh was California's most flamboyant and influential legislator. He has a worthy biographer in Bill Boyarsky, one of the state's best-ever political reporters. Boyarsky has written a lively treasure of a book that is at once critical and sympathetic: he unflinchingly describes Unruh's larger-than-life flaws but gives him deserved credit as an effective populist who wrote civil rights and education laws that were well ahead of their time. Beyond biography, this fascinating book provides a revealing examination of a state capitol culture that has been swept aside by the modern era of term limits and lavish campaign spending. Boyarsky writes about a vanished time when people cared about politics, and politicians like Unruh also cared about the people."--Lou Cannon, author of Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power " Big Daddy is the gripping real-life story of Jesse M. Unruh and the development of California following WWII. Boyarsky reveals how Unruh's multi-faceted character shaped his significant contributions. He was an institution builder who created a professional legislature and a passionate centrist who promoted civil rights, shareholder rights, and a responsible system of educational financing and accountability. This page turner pulls no punches in describing the complexities of the man and his times and their relevance for today's divisive politics."--Ann N. Crigler, chair of the Department of Political Science, University of Southern California "If Bill Boyarsky had merely written about "Big Daddy" Unruh, one of the most powerful California politicians of the 20th Century, this would have been a valuable book. Jesse comes alive in all his bullying bulk and commitment to progressive public policy. But Boyarsky's work is much more than that. It is a close-up look at California's Capitol when it consistently worked, not always in a pretty way. Those politicians may have sinned, but they definitely succeeded in meeting the needs of a fast-growing state. This is an enjoyable read with many lessons."--George Skelton, L.A Times State Political Columnist "Only a seasoned reporter such as Bill Boyarsky would have the insight and skill to chronicle the life and times of this flamboyant but enigmatic politician, this gruff giant, this wizard of the legislative process, this ardent advocate and fierce opponent, the late great Jesse Unruh."--Kevin Starr, Professor of History, University of Southern California
Flap Copy
"Jesse Unruh was a remarkable phenomenon in American politics, a figure of tremendous energy and intelligence, with flaws to match. Although he never held public office beyond his home state, his institutional creativity as Speaker of the California Assembly and as State Treasurer had nationwide impact. Bill Boyarsky followed Unruh's career from the early days, and has produced a careful, fair-minded, and appreciative portrait without neglecting skeletons in the closet, buried bodies, and other colorful details of California politics that only a long-term, well-informed observer could provide."--Nelson Polsby, University of California, Berkeley "Jesse Unruh was California's most flamboyant and influential legislator. He has a worthy biographer in Bill Boyarsky, one of the state's best-ever political reporters. Boyarsky has written a lively treasure of a book that is at once critical and sympathetic: he unflinchingly describes Unruh's larger-than-life flaws but gives him deserved credit as an effective populist who wrote civil rights and education laws that were well ahead of their time. Beyond biography, this fascinating book provides a revealing examination of a state capitol culture that has been swept aside by the modern era of term limits and lavish campaign spending. Boyarsky writes about a vanished time when people cared about politics, and politicians like Unruh also cared about the people."--Lou Cannon, author ofGovernor Reagan: His Rise to Power "Big Daddyis the gripping real-life story of Jesse M. Unruh and the development of California following WWII. Boyarsky reveals how Unruh's multi-faceted character shaped his significant contributions. He was an institution builder who created a professional legislature and a passionate centrist who promoted civil rights, shareholder rights, and a responsible system of educational financing and accountability. This page turner pulls no punches in describing the complexities of the man and his times and their relevance for today's divisive politics."--Ann N. Crigler, University of Southern California "If Bill Boyarsky had merely written about "Big Daddy" Unruh, one of the most powerful California politicians of the 20th Century, this would have been a valuable book. Jesse comes alive in all his bullying bulk and commitment to progressive public policy. But Boyarsky's work is much more than that. It is a close-up look at California's Capitol when it consistently worked, not always in a pretty way. Those politicians may have sinned, but they definitely succeeded in meeting the needs of a fast-growing state. This is an enjoyable read with many lessons."--George Skelton,L.A TimesState Political Columnist "Only a seasoned reporter such as Bill Boyarsky would have the insight and skill to chronicle the life and times of this flamboyant but enigmatic politician, this gruff giant, this wizard of the legislative process, this ardent advocate and fierce opponent, the late great Jesse Unruh."--Kevin Starr, Professor of History, University of Southern California
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A veteran political reporter provides much detail and insight into both his [Unruh's] alcohol-saturated, woman-chasing personal life and political career."
"A veteran political reporter provides much detail and insight into both his [Unruh's] alcohol-saturated, woman-chasing personal life and political career."-- Sacramento Bee
"Filled with the kind of insights that only a seasoned observer of the ways of Sacramento could provide."
"Filled with the kind of insights that only a seasoned observer of the ways of Sacramento could provide."-- San Francisco Chronicle
"For insight into California's government, history and politics, or simply an account of a fascinating personality, this is a book well worth reading."
"For insight into California's government, history and politics, or simply an account of a fascinating personality, this is a book well worth reading."-- Daily Journal
"For those who revere the era of California politics when personalities were bigger than political offices in a state where the future seemed brighter every day, this book is a 'must read.'"
"For those who revere the era of California politics when personalities were bigger than political offices in a state where the future seemed brighter every day, this book is a 'must read.'"-- California History
"Sheds light on California's less-than-sedate politics after World War II . . . a telling perspective on the present state of our political affairs."
"Sheds light on California's less-than-sedate politics after World War II . . . a telling perspective on the present state of our political affairs."-- Los Angeles Times Book Review
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Revealing and frank, this biography tells the story of an American original, California's 'Big Daddy' Jesse Unruh, a charismatic man whose power reached far beyond the offices he held.
Long Description
Revealing and frank, this highly engaging biography tells the story of an American original, California's Big Daddy, Jesse Unruh (1922-1987), a charismatic man whose power reached far beyond the offices he held. Unruh, who was born into Texas sharecropper poverty, became a larger-than-life figure and a principal architect and builder of modern California--first as an assemblyman, then as assembly speaker, and finally, as state treasurer. He was also a great character: a combination of intelligence, wit, idealism, cynicism, woman-chasing vulgarity, charm, drunken excess, and political skill all wrapped up in one big package. He dominated the California capitol and extended his influence to Washington and Wall Street. He was close to Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys, but closest to Robert Kennedy, and was in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen when Kennedy was shot. Bill Boyarsky gives a close-up look at this extraordinary political leader, a man who believed that politics was the art of the possible, and his era.
Long Description
Revealing and frank, this highly engaging biography tells the story of an American original, California's Big Daddy, Jesse Unruh (1922-1987), a charismatic man whose power reached far beyond the offices he held. Unruh, who was born into Texas sharecropper poverty, became a larger-than-life figure and a principal architect and builder of modern California-----first as an assemblyman, then as Assembly speaker, and finally, as state treasurer. He was also a great character: a combination of intelligence, wit, idealism, cynicism, woman-chasing vulgarity, charm, drunken excess, and political skill all wrapped up in one big package. He dominated the California Capitol and extended his influence to Washington and Wall Street. He was close to Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys, but closest to Robert Kennedy, and was the Ambassador Hotel kitchen when Kennedy was shot. Unruh, who believed that politics was the art of the possible, was one of the most influential of the post-World War II centrist pragmatists, exemplified by Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and, in more recent years, Bill Clinton. By examining the human story behind a flamboyant politician, this definitive biography also chronicles major events that shaped the nation--the great depression, migration of dustbowl farmers, the enormous influence of the GI Bill of Rights, and the long, almost unnoticed battle for civil rights in California. Bill Boyarsky, who covered California and national politics for much of this period, draws from his own experience covering Unruh, as well as from many other sources, to give a close-up look at an extraordinary political leader and his era.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prologuep. 1
The Death of a Bossp. 6
The Road to Californiap. 18
The GI Bill of Rightsp. 30
Hat in the Ringp. 43
The Education of a Rookiep. 58
Segregation and the Unruh Civil Rights Actp. 74
Fair Housing and White Backlashp. 90
Animal Housep. 110
Backstabbing Democratsp. 129
Dirty Dealings and High Idealismp. 146
A Full-Time Legislaturep. 163
Unruh, Robert Kennedy, and the Anti-War Movementp. 173
Unruh versus Reaganp. 191
The Man with the Moneyp. 207
Epiloguep. 221
Notesp. 225
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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