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5.0 out of 5 starsHubert Horatio Hornblower Humphrey
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2018
The man who never became president, but became the nation's conscience. He was the greatest legislator of his time, and further had more influence than many presidents. I highly recommend this book. It is a honest, fitting tribute to Humphrey. It discusses his flaws, his life, his accomplishments, his tenure in the U.S. Senate, his 1960 presidential run, to serving as Vice President, his presidential run in 1968, his returning to the U.S. Senate in 1970, his 1972 presidential run, his possible presidential run in 1976, and his fight battle, his battle with cancer. The book is a great and enjoyable read, and goes into detail, at times meticulous detail, on various issues, such as Vietnam, and President Johnson's humiliating treatment of him. Considering where the Democratic Party stands today, and reading this book, and considering the party's views, and platforms, particularly in 1972 and 1976, with an emphasis on issues such as full employment and a guaranteed right to a job, one can see how the Democratic Party today can learn from HHH and its New Deal, Fair Deal, and Great Society roots, to get back to truly being the party of working people again. God Bless HHH. Thank you Arnold Offner for this wonderful book and great tribute to Hubert Humphrey.
I just finished your book last night, and must admit you had me at tears at the end! What an accomplishment, Professor Offner. It is really a magnificent work, comprehensive, well-documented yet very readable. I certainly feel like I know Humphrey much better for having read it. Thanks for sharing your incredible knowledge. He won't be forgotten now.
The politician from Minnesota pushed, pulled and prodded the enactment of Federal laws for civil rights in the US, to be enforced by Federal law enforcement, and linked the goal of equal rights of all in the US firmly to the Democratic party.
Social Democrats and Progressives also owe much to Humphrey for paving the way for them, and showing that their work is far from Socialism and Communism, but rightly embedded firmly in a Capitalist system. Arguments happening today are deja-vu of all the arguments Humphrey fought and largely won decades ago.
This book is a biography, but the real focus of the 500+ pages is Humphrey's political career in Minnesota and Washington, described in sometimes minute detail. While the decent, intelligent man is to be admired, I found the accounts of his political battles in Washington, and his life, to be very depressing, especially because of the following.
His voice of decency and reason was lost in the winds of hatred, bigotry, ignorance, partisanship, and rampant political egos, especially from the Dixiecrat Democrats. That faction was so horrible, so vile, that one wonders, if not for making slavery illegal, if the Civil War was really worth it. The Southern faction destroyed justice in America for generations, with their damage continuing to this day.
With 20-20 hindsight, one can see that if Humphrey had been listened to, the present-day US and the world would be a much better place in so many ways. The Cold War would have had fewer hot wars, and more nations would have strong democracies and true independence.
If his measures had been acted upon, race relations in the US would be in a better place than they are now, and all Americans would enjoy a much higher standard of living. There would be less hypocrisy in US policies and philosophy today, less failure to live up to her high ideals, and she could be at the top of the well-being tables that the Nordic countries enjoy, instead of lingering in the middle, and at the bottom for so many indicators.
Old boy structures are shown to be so entrenched, with myriad ways of blocking women's access to power, that one despairs reading about it, and seeing the situation not much better today. His wife's role was not as his partner, but an assistant, an appendage for the hyper-ambitious man, and she only found a happy, joyful partner in life in her second marriage.
However, most depressing is the truthful depiction of the workings of the US government, and the US Senate, showing the self-serving, narrow interests, nastiness, dirty money-infused environment populated by so many corrupt, egotistical creeps, who have zero interest in doing for Americans what they can't do for themselves, doing what the central government was created to do, which is improve the quality of life for all Americans.
This is an important book, especially for Democrats, but is also a horribly depressing book. I received a review-copy; this is my honest review.