Despite the title, this book is mainly an interpretive biography of former Alabama governor Wallace, with few revelations but more of a skeptical edge than Stephan Lesher's recent authorized bio, George Wallace: American Populist. (This book argues, contra Lesher, that Wallace did in fact vow not to be ``out-niggered.'') A history professor at Emory University, Carter (Scottsboro) has produced a detailed and readable account of Wallace--``the most influential loser in twentieth-century American politics''--as political animal, driven by ambition far more than by ideology, with a disarmingly folksy personal style. On the wrong side in so many civil rights-era clashes, from Bull Connor's brutality in Birmingham to the admitting of black students to the state university, Wallace nonetheless tapped the ``Southernization'' of suburban and ethnic white America, thereby fueling his two presidential bids. Though his crippling in a 1972 assassination attempt ended his political career, Wallace, as the author states in a coda, anticipated ``the conservative groundswell that transformed American politics in the 1980s.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995 Release date: 10/01/1995 Genre: Nonfiction
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