Adlai Stevenson: His Life and Legacy

Porter McKeever, Author
Porter McKeever, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-06661-1
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Elected governor of Illinois in 1948 by the largest margin of any candidate in that state, Stevenson became the losing Democratic contender in the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections. He died in 1964. McKeever, a friend who served as Stevenson's publicity director during his first presidential campaign, maintains that Stevenson did not want to run in '52, doubted he could win in '56 and performed nobly as UN ambassador during the Kennedy administration in spite of JFK's less-than-steadfast support. The author speculates that the accidental shooting death of a friend when Stevenson was 12 accounts, at least in part, for his compulsive self-deprecation and feeling of unworthiness, as well as his calm acceptance of his divorce and the two overwhelming campaign losses to Eisenhower. McKeever is at pains to correct the impression that Stevenson was politically indecisive and to show that the vicious attacks he suffered over his role in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, accusations that he advocated a ``Caribbean Munich,'' were unwarranted. This sympathetic biography of a graceful, witty, far-seeing statesman will be read with pleasure and a little sadness, especially by voters who were ``madly for Adlai.'' Photos. BOMC alternate; History Book Club selection. (July)
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