ANDREW YOUNG by Carl Gardner


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This first full-scale biography of Andrew Young suffers from poor organization and an event-oriented approach that sometimes leaves Young on the fringes of the story. After a quick summary of his early life, Carl Gardner jumps back and forth between Young's current activities as UN Ambassador--mainly his dealings with African leaders--and his earlier role in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, also mentioning Young in Congress and his ties with Jimmy Carter. Though Gardner says that Young ""just naturally evolved,"" he does not let his story evolve naturally. ""It was time to go back to Alabama,"" he writes after a section on civil rights activities in St. Augustine. But the next chapter begins with Young in London on a 1977 diplomatic tour. There is also a disconcerting digression at the end of each chapter called ""The Lions in the Arena,"" with profiles on such figures as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Bull Connor. The sections on civil rights depict Young as a peripheral figure, and revolve around King and Ralph Abernathy. In chronicling his recent career, Gardner dwells incessantly on Young's proclivity for outspoken remarks, even using ""Time magazine's"" appellation ""Motor Mouth"" as a chapter heading. Despite Gardner's contention that ""until the United Nations limelight, it had not been easy to characterize him""--some called Young ""militant,"" others a compromiser, while King himself ""fondly nicknamed him 'Tom' ""--Young remains an enigma in this book. An intriguing figure, he deserves more insightful coverage.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1978
Publisher: Drake