THE LETTERS OF ARTHUR SCHLESINGER, JR. by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
Kirkus Star

THE LETTERS OF ARTHUR SCHLESINGER, JR.

KIRKUS REVIEW

An insightful, unique view of the multiple Pulitzer-winning liberal icon Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (1917–2007).

Serving as their father’s editor, Schlesinger’s sons—former ABC News documentary writer Andrew (Veritas: Harvard College and the American Experience, 2005, etc.) and former Time contributor and World Policy Journal publisher Stephen (Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations, 2003, etc.)—mined more than 60 years of his correspondence and worked through the thousands of letters held at the New York Public Library and other collections. They also drew from his wide-ranging and varied correspondents to produce a worthy follow-up and companion to their Journals: 1952–2000 (2007). The letters selected here provide a clear picture of the multifaceted talents of their father. Schlesinger’s credentials provided standing for the advice he addressed to Democratic presidential candidates Walter Mondale in 1984 and Bill Clinton in 1992. He helped them run effective campaigns and noted that they should avoid the temptation to “out-Republican the Republicans.” The letters also include exchanges with close friends, like socialite and political supporter Marietta Tree and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, as well as complete strangers. Schlesinger and National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. corresponded over many years, each welcoming the other’s latest publication efforts and disputing the historical significance of such figures as Joseph McCarthy. The editors also do a good job of representing Schlesinger's relations with the Kennedy family over the years, and there are sharply penned rebuttals of critics of the Kennedy brothers' Cuba policy—e.g., Christopher Hitchens and Joseph Califano—in which Schlesinger’s attention to detail predominates. Pen portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Alger Hiss add to the mix, and the book also includes the author’s fears about the consequences of Ronald Reagan's term and the war in Iraq under the George W. Bush administration.

A treasure trove that enriches understanding of some of the men and women who helped shape events from World War II to the present.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8129-9309-7
Page count: 656pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2013




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