American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Henry A. Wallace

John C. Culver, Author, John Hyde, Joint Author
John C. Culver, Author, John Hyde, Joint Author W. W. Norton & Company $35 (608p) ISBN 978-0-393-04645-8
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Paperback - 608 pages - 978-0-393-32228-6
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An outstanding economist and geneticist, Henry Wallace (1888-1965) was also the personification of New Deal liberalism. In this splendid biography, former senator Culver and journalist Hyde brilliantly illuminate Wallace's complex life and struggles. As FDR's agriculture secretary and later vice president, Wallace always stood to the president's left politically (Hamilton Fish called him ""Stalin's ambassador to the court of Roosevelt""). Recognizing that national unity would be threatened in the event of Wallace becoming president, the ailing FDR shrewdly saw to it that his old friend was dropped from the ticket in 1944 in favor of Harry Truman. By this time Wallace, the pragmatic engineer of the New Deal, had, in Culver and Hyde's portrayal, degenerated into an extreme leftist ideologue who--as Churchill emphatically reminded Roosevelt--demonstrated no fundamental understanding of the threat posed by Soviet communism. Running for president as an independent in 1948, Wallace wore his na vet on his sleeve, insisting U.S. diplomacy should be governed not by the tenets of Machiavelli, but by those of Christ. Culver and Hyde reveal both Wallaces--the confident architect of successful domestic reform and the idealist who, in Hubert H. Humphrey's words, was ""devoted and dedicated to peace."" Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
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