The Cost of Courage

Carl Elliot, Author, Michael D'Orso, With Doubleday Books $22 (314p) ISBN 978-0-385-42091-4
Former Democratic Alabama congressman Elliott ( Annals of Northwest Alabama ), assisted by Virginia journalist D'Orso, here recounts his role in the struggle for civil rights--and against George Wallace. Recognized by the first John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 1990, this largely unsung hero emerges from years as a destitute invalid to recall his part in passage of the National Defense Education Act and membership in the House Rules Committee under Kennedy. With zest and without self-pity, he relives his youth as a Southern tenant farmer, his hard-earned education and his career as a ``barter'' lawyer for the miners and dirt farmers who sent him to Congress in 1948. The Klan, Birchers and the Wallace machine defeated Elliott's bid for reelection to a ninth term and a 1966 gubernatorial attempt which ruined him financially and ended his political life. The narrative is rich in portrayals of political figures, including the ``fearsome magnetism'' of a ruthless Wallace. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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