Son of Virginia: A Life in America's Political Arena

Rowman & Littlefield
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In 1981, the Commonwealth of Virginia, which had been dominated for decades by “the Organization,” a political machine led by former Governor and U.S. Senator Harry Byrd Sr., took its first baby steps to becoming the vibrant state it is today. That year, Charles Robb rejected the machine and began a new Democratic Party in his campaign for governor. Instead of running against African Americans, Robb reached out to Douglas Wilder, the state’s only African American State Senator and other leaders in the African American Community to rally voters of color to support the Democratic ticket. With the help of a heavy African American turnout, Robb won and the Byrd machine was crushed.
In 1985, just four years later, Doug Wilder won the party’s nomination for Lieutenant Governor against the cries of “Virginia isn’t ready” and, later that year, defied the naysayers by being elected to that office. Within five years, he would be sworn in as the first elected African American governor in American history.
SON OF VIRGINIA by L. Douglas Wilder details the events of the author’s life to paint a portrait of the changing face of America. It will be a story of constant struggle and conflict, not only Wilder’s struggle, but also that of courageous people who stood up to decades of discrimination, corruption and greed. The book will stand as a road map for continued American progress in our elections and laws and a stark warning of what may happen if we relax our commitment to this program.
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About the author

Lawrence Douglas Wilder (born January 17, 1931) served as the first African American to be elected as governor of Virginia. Wilder served as the 66th Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. When earlier elected as Lieutenant Governor, he was the first African American elected to statewide office in Virginia. His most recent political office was Mayor of Richmond, Virginia, which he held from 2005 to 2009.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Rowman & Littlefield
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Published on
Oct 1, 2015
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781493019526
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Political
History / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Lord George Bentinck is an account of Disraeli's relation with his parliamentary colleague and friend. It is not simply an account of the battle over the Corn Laws with Sir Robert Peel, but a most remarkable book, extremely readable, and full of often quoted and apt comments and descriptions. As a vivid story of one of the great parliamentary dramas in British history it is unsurpassed. The portraits of both Bentinck and Peel are both sympathetic and just. The book provides insight into mid-nineteenth century parliamentary life that remains unsurpassed.

It is hard to overstate the bitterness and fury which Peel's decision to repeal the Corn Laws had provoked in British politics. One biographer of Disraeli, Robert Blake, spoke of "Home Rule in 1886 and Munich in 1938 as the nearest parallels". Friendships were sundered, families divided, and the feuds of politics carried into private life to a degree quite unusual in British history. Those who are interested in the details of parliamentary warfare which raged until Peel's fall from power should consult Lord George Bentinck.

But the worth of this book goes beyond constitutional history or even the Irish food famine. Disraeli helps explain the intellectual and ideological grounds of the Young England Movement: a conservative force that aimed at a union of discontented industrial workers with aristocratic landowners and against factious Whigs, selfish factory owners and dissenting shopkeepers. In forging such a policy of principle, the Conservatives, as Disraeli's book well demonstrates, became a minority party but one which carried the full weight of moral politics.

Set in any era, Dick Thornburgh’s brilliant career would merit study and retelling. He was the first Republican elected to two successive terms as governor of Pennsylvania. He served in the Department of Justice under five presidents, including three years as attorney general for Presidents Reagan and Bush. As undersecretary-
general of the United Nations, he was the highest-ranking American in the organization and a strong voice for reform.

Nationally, Thornburgh is best remembered for his three years as attorney general, when he managed some of the most vexing legal matters of the modern age: the Savings and Loan and BCCI scandals; controversy over the “Iraqgate” and INSLAW investigations and the Wichita abortion clinic protests; and prosecutions of Michael Milken, Manuel Noriega, and Marion Barry, as well as those involved in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Rodney King beating.

As governor of Pennsylvania, he faced the nation’s worst nuclear accident, weeks after his inauguration in 1979. Thornburgh's cool-headed response to the Three Mile Island disaster is often studied as a textbook example of emergency management. His historic 1992 battle against Harris Wofford for the late John Heinz III’s Senate seat is one of several political campaigns, vividly recalled, that reveal the inner workings of the commonwealth’s political machinery.

Thornburgh reveals painful details of his personal life, including the automobile accident that claimed the life of his first wife and permanently disabled his infant son. He presents a frank analysis of the challenges of raising a family as a public figure, and tells the moving story of his personal and political crusade that culminated in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

This revised and updated edition includes a new chapter devoted to the highlights of Thornburgh’s continuing career. He offers fascinating insights into his experiences as Bankruptcy Court Examiner for the WorldCom proceedings, leading the investigation into the CBS News report on President George W. Bush’s military service record, representing Allegheny County coroner Cyril Wecht in a trial over alleged misuse of public office, and as part of the K&L Gates team consulted by Chiquita Brands during a federal investigation over payments made to Colombian guerillas and paramilitaries to protect banana growers.
In August 2004, Governor James E. McGreevey of New Jersey made history when he stepped before microphones, declared "My truth is that I am a gay American," and announced his resignation. The story made international headlines—but what led to that moment was a human and political drama more complex and fascinating than anyone knew. Now, in this extraordinarily candid memoir, McGreevey shares his story of a life of ambition, moral compromise, and redemption.

From childhood, McGreevey lived a kind of idealized American life. The son of working-class Irish Catholic parents, named for an uncle who died at Iwo Jima, he strove to exceed expectations in everything he did, meeting each new challenge as though his "future rode on every move." As a young man he was tempted by the priesthood, yet it was another calling—politics—that he found irresistible. Plunging early into the dangerous waters of New Jersey politics, he won three elections by the age of thirty-six, and soon thereafter nearly toppled the state's popular governor, Christie Todd Whitman, in a photo-finish election. Four years later, he won the governorship by a landslide.

Throughout his adult life, however, Jim McGreevey had been forced to suppress a fundamental truth about himself: that he was gay. He knew at once that the only clear path to his dreams was to live a straight life, and so he split in two, accepting the traditional role of family man while denying his deepest emotions. And he discovered, to his surprise, that becoming a political player demanded ethical shortcuts that became as corrosive as living in the closet. In the cutthroat culture of political bosses, backroom deals, and the insidious practice known as "pay-to-play," he writes, "political compromises came easy to me because I'd learned how to keep a part of myself innocent of them." His policy triumphs as governor were tempered by scandal, as the transgressions of his staff came back to haunt him. Yet only when a former lover threatened to expose him did he finally confront his divided soul, and find the authentic self that had always eluded him.

More than a coming-out memoir, The Confession is the story of one man's quest to repair the rift between his public and private selves, at a time in our culture when the personal and political have become tangled like frayed electric cables. Teeming with larger-than-life characters, written with honesty, grace, and rare insight into what it means to negotiate the minefields of American public life, it may be among the most honest political memoirs ever written.

Now available as an eBook for the very first time! • ONE OF TIME’S TEN MOST IMPORTANT NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
 
In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.
 
Praise for The Autobiography of Malcolm X
 
“Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.”—Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

“Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book.”—The New York Times
 
“A great book . . . Its dead level honesty, its passion, its exalted purpose, will make it stand as a monument to the most painful truth.”—The Nation
 
“The most important book I’ll ever read, it changed the way I thought, it changed the way I acted. It has given me courage I didn’t know I had inside me. I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”—Spike Lee
 
“This book will have a permanent place in the literature of the Afro-American struggle.”—I. F. Stone
A New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review 

Ron Chernow's other biographies include: Grant, Washington, and Titan.
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