The Stevensons

Jean H. Baker

ISBN 10: 0393315983 / ISBN 13: 9780393315981
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"[A] sweeping narrative, beautifully written and scrupulously evenhanded, [that] does full justice to Stevenson and his people. . . . Ambitious, elegiac, and provocative."--Richard Norton Smith, Chicago Tribune, front page review

Jean H. Baker tells the compelling story of four generations of an American family and its most celebrated member, the high-minded, eloquent, and perennial also-ran icon of liberal politics, Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (1900-1965). The Stevensons is also a book about the relationship of a family to its times: With Baker's characteristically deft blend of the public and private, set on a broad canvas, the Stevenson story becomes an American saga.

Baker's biography "affords [Stevenson's] life a depth, historical and personal, that few other writers have acknowledged" (Kirkus Reviews).
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Review: Jean Baker chronicles the history of the Stevenson family from its roots in Scotland to its transplantation in America. Its members would become farmers, businesspeople, and politicians--the most famous being Adlai Stevenson, the perennial also-ran in several presidential elections. Although he is widely regarded as something of an intellectual saint (Dwight Eisenhower famously derided him as an "egghead"), in Baker's view Adlai Stevenson's career was less than spotless. As governor of Illinois, he illegally paid political aides from a private slush fund. He conducted several extramarital affairs. He often behaved foolishly and arrogantly. For all that, writes Baker, he was unfairly abused as a supposed Communist fellow traveler and ultraliberal, when in fact his politics were resolutely centrist. Baker gives due attention to this important figure in recent political history.

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Title: The Stevensons
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