cover image Pure Goldwater

Pure Goldwater

John W. Dean, Barry M. Goldwater, Jr.. Palgrave MacMillan, $27.95 (399pp) ISBN 978-1-4039-7741-0

Senator Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), whose 1960 best-seller Conscience of a Conservative helped define the modern conservative movement, was by 1996 describing himself and Bob Dole as ""the new liberals of the Republican Party."" Author Dean (Broken Government, Conservatives Without Conscience) and Goldwater Jr., the Senator's son and an eighth-term California congressman, explore the complicated figure in this ""scrap book"" of journal excerpts, correspondence, articles and other primary testimony. A Republican maverick who valued principle over political expediency, Goldwater can be predictable-maintaining loyalty toward Nixon even as the President edged him out of inner White House circles (as late as May 1973, Goldwater called for Jack Anderson's Pulitzer to be re-dubbed ""the Benedict Arnold Award"")-but he was neither an ideologue nor a mud-slinger: for instance, his hard-hitting fight against President Johnson stopped short of scandalizing LBJ's chief of staff, arrested for ""disorderly"" conduct in a men's toilet, and in 1994 he went against the powerful new GOP congress by saying publicly of Whitewater, ""I haven't heard anything yet that says this is all that big of a deal."" Covering personal life, career and retirement, including his 1964 bid for president, this is an invaluable chronicle of the times, told by an American who changed politics by being, simply, ""an honest man who tried his damnedest.""