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Hubert Humphrey was the consummate liberal politician of the second half of the twentieth century, evolving from charismatic mayor of Minneapolis to crusading US senator to compliant vice president under the overpowering Lyndon B Johnson -- to defeated presidential hopeful. Here is the most complete and authoritative biography of Humphrey ever written. Based on over two hundred interviews and access to his papers at the Minnesota Historical Society, it presents a portrait of a vivacious, complex man, the leading orator and most productive legislator of his age. The book opens with an account of what may have been Humphrey's finest hour, the 1948 Democratic National Convention, when the brash, young mayor of Minneapolis challenged Southern conservatives and committed his party to the civil rights laws that reshaped twentieth-century America. Here too is the story of Humphrey's failure to weather the contending passions and ambitions of the sixties, and of the humiliating bargain he made with Lyndon Johnson in accepting the vice-presidency in 1964.
The author's dramatic account of this relationship highlights Johnson's ruthlessness and Humphrey's inability to see the catastrophic political consequences of his blind loyalty to the president. In Carl Solberg's vivid retelling, Humphrey's compassion and ambition, successes and ultimate failures, are placed in historical context and provide a vital source for the understanding of our times.
Carl Solberg is a former writer and associate editor for Time magazine and visiting scholar in the history department at Columbia University.