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“A sensitive, informed and funny feat of high journalism that is a classic of the kind.”—The New York Times Book Review
Wallace is a classic portrait of one of the century’s most fiery and controversial political figures. Initially conceived as a novel, Marshall Frady’s biography of George Wallace retains the narrative force and descriptive powers of fiction. Elizabeth Hardwick noted on Wallace’s first publication in 1968, “There is a palpable Faulknerian mood to the reporting,” and The New Republic observed, “Frady has established new standards in political biography.” This is a wonderfully crafted depiction of a seminal figure whose influence altered the course of national politics.
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George Wallace is the most important failed American presidential candidate of the 20th century. He rose to national prominence during the first of his four official terms as governor of Alabama (there was also the term served by his first wife, Lurleen, when state law prohibited him from a third consecutive run at the office) by fulfilling a promise made to a group of state senators: "I'm going to make race the basis of politics in this state, and I'm going to make it the basis of politics in this country." His commitment to the racial segregation he believed the people of Alabama wanted, when taken to the national level, led to the articulation of a conservative working-class voter demographic that was eventually harnessed by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 elections and without which the candidacies of Ross Perot and Patrick Buchanan would seem much less plausible.
Marshall Frady's Wallace is more than a political biography; it is a portrait in words. It crackles with the liveliness of Wallace on the Alabama campaign trail, capturing the feel of an era in which Southern politicians could still publicly refer to black Americans with a certain word without the slightest trace of self-consciousness. There are some remarkable passages within, including a conversation in which Governor Wallace tries to put Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on the spot as to the potential deployment of federal troops to enforce the integration of the University of Alabama. Readers will also learn that, for all his racial demagoguery--of which he would repent late in life--Wallace was in many ways a rather liberal statesman, launching massive social programs, and in every way a canny politician despite appearances. --Ron HoganFrom the Back Cover:
Wallace is the classic portrait of one of the century's most fiery and controversial political figures. Initially conceived as a novel, Marshall Frady's biography retains the narrative force and descriptive powers of fiction. This is a depiction of George Wallace, a seminal figure of the second half of the twentieth century whose influence has altered the course of national politics.
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