Former Alabama congressman Elliott, with the assistance of D'Orso (co-author, Somerset Homecoming, 1988), engagingly relates the affecting story of his rise from a dirt-poor childhood in Alabama's ""hill country"" to his long tenure on Capitol Hill, as well as his political ruin at the hands of George Wallace. Elliott, a Democrat, distinguished himself as a supporter of civil rights during his eight terms in Congress (1948-63) at a time when ""Southern Democrat"" was most often code for ""segregationist."" Here, he demonstrates pride in his principal legislative achievement--the National Defense Education Act, which enabled millions of Americans to attend college--and in his work, as a member of the House Rules Committee, in advancing a progressive agenda. Elliott recounts how his voting record, his alliance with the reformist forces of the Kennedy Administration, and his vocal protests against the often brutal tactics of George Wallace and other segregationists ultimately caused his defeat in a 1964 Alabama primary at the hands of a Wallace-sponsored candidate--""the cost of courage"" of the title. In 1966, Elliott ran against Wallace himself in a gubernatorial contest marred by overt racism. Defeated, the author never again sought or held public office. A fine and absorbing memoir that captures the turbulent emotions surrounding the passage of the modern civil-rights acts.