FULBRIGHT: The Dissenter by Haynes & Bernard M. Gwertzman Johnson

FULBRIGHT: The Dissenter

Email this review


It is true what they say about Fulbright: progressive and conservative, timid and bold, an all-American medley of South-West-East strains, and, the subtitle notwithstanding, a very reluctant, no-recourse dissenter. Taking off from Fulbright's assumption of the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1959, the authors posit prior contradictions, demonstrate them in his life and career, and arrive at a conclusion which is not so much a synthesis as a consignment: through his speeches and public positions, he has been an influential teacher, and his central message has been education--in the broadest sense. The circumstances surrounding the most significant of these positions, his break with Johnson over Vietnam, are presented in detail, not overlooking Fulbright's renunciation of his own role in sponsoring the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Far better balanced than Tristram Coffin's 1966 panegyric, this is still somewhat less than thorough in treating Fulbright's relation to McCarthy: his opposition was not nearly so consistent as it appears to be here. Neither is it entirely analytical vis a vis Vietnam: that Fulbright himself formulated the position that Johnson later adopted is seen as a personal problem rather than an ideological inconsistency. From extensive research and interviews, a sympathetic but not supine portrayal that is popularly readable.

Pub Date: July 19th, 1968
Publisher: Doubleday