The story of Strom Thurmond's career, from the Governor's Mansion in Columbia, South Carolina, at the age of 44, to the floor of his Senate office in Washington, where he did 75 push-ups on his 61st birthday, is as incredible as it is strenuous. A large part of it, as told here, is shared with the wife twenty three years his junior who died in 1960. The rest is championing of popular causes and beating all the intelligent odds. ""Maverick"" is the only word for a man who left the Democratic party in 1948 to run for president as a ""Dixiecrat"" and bolted again, apparently for good this time, to support Barry Goldwater in 1964. In between he became, among other things, the first candidate in U.S. history to gain a seat in either House by write-in ballots, and the title-holder for the longest filibuster. He has fought with impressive consistency for his two favorite causes: States' Rights and anti-Communism. As a biography, this book is gossipy, affectionate, and thin. Perhaps with reason, the Senator's life is portrayed primarily in terms of campaign slugfests and congressional wrestling matches, practically undiluted by constructive legislative efforts or enunciation of coherent political philosophy. The insights are there, but they require some probing.