SARGE: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver

Scott Stossel, Author, Bill Moyers, Foreword by . Smithsonian $32.50 (761p) ISBN 978-1-58834-127-3

This is a superbly researched, immensely readable political biography by Stossel, a senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly . Although Sargent Shriver (b. 1915) was never victorious in electoral politics, he emerges here as one of the more adept and dedicated public servants of the 20th century. His early professional direction was determined less by his own ambition than by his relationship to the Kennedys through his marriage to John and Robert Kennedy's sister Eunice. Suspending his own political aspirations to devote his efforts to John's 1960 presidential campaign, he went on to serve as the first director of the Peace Corps. Worried about charges of nepotism, Shriver agreed to serve only if Kennedy put his nomination before the Senate for review. In the minds of many, he would never emerge from his connection to the Kennedys, but his legacy, as Stossel argues convincingly, is impressive in its own right. Shriver headed the War on Poverty for President Johnson, which led to the eventual creations of VISTA and Head Start, and other services for the poor. He later served as ambassador to France, created the Special Olympics, ran for vice-president with George McGovern in 1972, and was a candidate for the presidential nomination in 1976. While some may find Stossel's view of Shriver hagiographic, that may have less to do with Stossel than with his subject, an inspiring figure whose life reaffirms the power of politics and government to effect positive, creative change. Set against a century of totalitarianism, war and gross inhumanity, Shriver's devotion to the "empowerment of impoverished groups" is a model of integrity and idealism. 40 b&w photos. Agent, Ron Goldfarb. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/22/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Paperback - 800 pages - 978-1-59051-513-6
Open Ebook - 636 pages - 978-1-59051-514-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-5226-6638-7
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