The somewhat mixed-up story of Idaho's ""Singing Cowboy"" Senator (194450)--who went on his quirky way to become Henry...



The somewhat mixed-up story of Idaho's ""Singing Cowboy"" Senator (194450)--who went on his quirky way to become Henry Wallace's running-mate. At the outset we're in the midst of an Idaho forest fire, and then we move to a casino where 15-year-old Glen Taylor is singing. He takes up with Mona, a dancer, and, with romantic flourishes, describes the ensuing events: sharing a house; trying to seduce Mona (his only prior experience was with a calf); succeeding (""her fury and abandon were almost frightening""); Mona winding up in a brothel; Glen singing for the Governor in return for the paroling of Mona's jailed husband; the Governor's wife oozing, ""you are so young and so brave. . . ."" Then we tour with Glen and wife Dora's variety show, watch Glen decide that he's a better showman/campaigner than Idaho's Governor, and witness his own singing-and-joking campaigns: an unsuccessful Congressional bid; a 1944 Senate victory despite machine opposition. In Washington, sobered up, Taylor is friends with Drew Pearson; introduces legislation proposing world government; criticizes the ""establishment"" (business and military) for making Russia the ""bogeyman"" to justify a continued ""armament economy""; and becomes the Progressive Party's vice-presidential candidate in 1948. Losing his bid for re-election to the Senate, and a subsequent primary, he charges the ""machine"" with rigging the outcome for Frank Church--who refused to call for a recount. Undaunted, Taylor launches a toupee company (Taylor Toppers). The existence of a political biography Prophet Without Honor (1967) may have kept Taylor from emphasizing philosophy here; too bad, because he's better at discussing governmental affairs than his own--even his early entanglements are more embarrassing than racy.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 1979


Page Count: -

Publisher: Lyle Stuart

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1979