CONGRESSMAN FROM MISSISSIPPI by Frank Smith

CONGRESSMAN FROM MISSISSIPPI

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Politicians, with obvious reason, don't pen their autobiographies until there's an ex in front of their titles. Ex-congressman Smith spent 12 years in the House, and this book is the statement of the ""burden of conscience that I carried without public comment during my political career."" It is, ""in a larger sense... an apology for hypocrisy."" That this hypocrisy was absolutely necessary for as long as he chose to remain in public office does not detract from the strength of his confession, nor from the urgency of his message. He believed that ""by working for economic progress, without adding my voice to the radical clamor. I could make some genuine contribution to the gradual elimination of discrimination."" The consensus of informed opinion is that he did, until do-nothingism found him out and defeated him at the polls. Meanwhile, of course, he had dutifully gone on record with speeches against every civil rights measure, and, ""when expediency demanded it,"" voted ""right."" This is a frank, articulate book, as well as a timely one. Frank Smith must be one of millions of moderate, intelligent, responsible Southerners who sooner or later will all have to stand up and be counted. If this book brings that count closer by one day--and if read it might--then it may have achieved more than its author ever could have in Washington.

Publisher: Pantheon