Former Teamsters Union president Dave Beck, at 84, wanted"" to get some old business off his chest,"" and John McCallum gave him the opportunity, with no attempt at qualitative evaluation. Beck was ""the first nationally-recognized figure"" from the Pacific Northwest, according to McCallum, and local pride has overshadowed his objectivity. Like more than one Jimmy Hoffa book, this biography combines vindictiveness against Robert Kennedy with rationalization. It was a ""bookkeeping blooper,"" explains Beck, which led to his conviction and jail term in a 1957 tax case, and as for his $50,000-a-year pension, Beck admits it's a lot, but points to what he could have made in some other business. Early on, McCallum quotes an unnamed priest's claim that Beck was ""the victim of a witchhunt"" by Robert Kennedy and Senate Rackets Committee Chairman McClellan--a recurrent theme. (One chapter is called ""Bitten by the Boston Terrier."") ""Do you believe there was a conspiracy to make an example of you?"" McCallum asks, allowing Beck to answer, ""That was probably part of it."" But McCallum suspends judgment in describing how Beck, as a union organizer, realized that the Teamsters ""could strangle business,"" or how his men trailed United Brewery Workers drivers, ""beat them up, and wrecked their trucks"" when the Teamsters were organizing them. A one-sided account of how a poor boy from Seattle grew up to be a despot.
Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1978
Page Count: -
Publisher: Writing Works (7438 S.E. 40 St., Mercer Island, Wash. 98040)