Adlai Stevenson : his life and legacy /
Porter McKeever.
1st ed. --
New York : Morrow, c1989.
591 p., [16] p. of plates : ill.
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New York : Morrow, c1989.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1989-05-12:
Elected governor of Illinois in 1948 by the largest margin of any candidate in that state, Stevenson became the losing Democratic contender in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections. He died in 1964. McKeever, a friend who served as Stevenson's publicity director during his first presidential campaign, maintains that Stevenson did not want to run in '52, doubted he could win in '56 and performed nobly as UN ambassador during the Kennedy administration in spite of JFK's less-than-steadfast support. The author speculates that the accidental shooting death of a friend when Stevenson was 12 accounts, at least in part, for his compulsive self-deprecation and feeling of unworthiness, as well as his calm acceptance of his divorce and the two overwhelming campaign losses to Eisenhower. McKeever is at pains to correct the impression that Stevenson was politically indecisive and to show that the vicious attacks he suffered over his role in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, accusations that he advocated a ``Caribbean Munich,'' were unwarranted. This sympathetic biography of a graceful, witty, far-seeing statesman will be read with pleasure and a little sadness, especially by voters who were ``madly for Adlai.'' Photos. BOMC alternate; History Book Club selection. (July)
Appeared in Library Journal on 1989-07-01:
Memory of Stevenson has dimmed over the nearly 25 years since his death. McKeever will do nothing to reverse Stevenson's fortune with this poorly executed, poorly organized, haltingly written attempt to portray a decisive, politically astute, farsighted statesman to a general readership that may barely know Stevenson at all. Though McKeever was a long-time political associate of Stevenson, he adds nothing new to the story. Kenneth S. Davis's The Politics of Honor ( LJ 9/15/67) after two decades remains the most accessible approach to Stevenson for lay readers. Scholars will still turn to John Bartlow Martin's two volumes, Adlai Stevenson of Illinois ( LJ 5/1/76) and Adlai Stevenson and the World ( LJ 9/15/77). Although these three books are all out of print, this latest biography merits no recommendation.-- Robert F. Nardini, N. Chi chester, N.H.
Appeared in Choice on 1990-01:
McKeever, a former Stevenson associate, has undertaken a historical rescue mission. A witty and often eloquent liberal, Stevenson captivated a generation of idealists and remained their hero through defeat in two presidential bids and five years as US Ambassador to the UN. His hold on liberal intellectuals is symbolized by a large shelf of sympathetic biographies, of which this is the latest. The book is competently researched and well written. It breaks some new ground, notably by examining Stevenson's tortured private life in fuller dimension than earlier studies. Stevenson's gift for pungent expression comes through clearly. Yet the book ultimately fails to accomplish McKeever's goal of reminding readers what America lost by failing to make Stevenson president. Despite the pains McKeever takes to refute the common charge that Stevenson lacked "decisiveness," the narrative reinforces that perception. The substance of Stevenson's liberalism, both in domestic and foreign policy, moreover, lacked the distinctiveness Mckeever claims for it. Ultimately, Stevenson's appeal lay in some personal chemistry with supporters that McKeever (despite heroic effort) fails to recapture in print. John Bartlow Martin's Adlai Stevenson (v.1: CH, Jul'76; v.2: CH, Jan'78) remains more valuable for scholars, but McKeever's book, one third the length of Martin's, will serve as a more readable introduction to its subject. No annotations, and a weak bibliography. Illustrations and index. -M. J. Birkner, Millersville University of Pennsylvania
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, May 1989
Booklist, June 1989
Library Journal, July 1989
Reference & Research Book News, October 1989
Choice, January 1990
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