Goldwater

Lee Edwards, Author Regnery Publishing $29.95 (572p) ISBN 978-0-89526-471-8
Hang in long enough and rehabilitation is virtually assured--witness Nixon--so one wonders at the author's dismay that Goldwater, whose 1964 presidential campaign motto, ``Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,'' alarmed liberals, has now become their ``favorite conservative.'' For the first 400 pages, Edwards, who teaches politics at Catholic University of America, finds no wrong in the former Republican senator from Arizona--well, only his jealousy of Reagan--and proposes that as standard-bearer he ``cast a brilliant lasting light.'' Although, as a presidential candidate, Goldwater carried only six states, Edwards makes the Johnson-Goldwater contest the centerpiece of his tedious book. Ultimately, it's the character of the 86-year-old senator in retirement that Edwards finds troubling: Goldwater's repudiation of the Moral Majority and his pro-choice and pro-gay rights stands. Has the senator been influenced by his new wife, Susan, a liberal 31 years his junior? Or by his grandson, an HIV-positive gay man, or by his lesbian grandniece? Edwards offers no opinion, an odd restraint in a book whose objective clearly is to advance a conservative agenda. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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