TALMADGE: A Political Legacy, A Politician's Life by Herman E. with Mark Royden Winchell Talmadge

TALMADGE: A Political Legacy, A Politician's Life

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A feisty political memoir by the former Georgia Governor and US Senator. For the better part of this century, the Talmadges have been Georgia's Kennedys--startling with Herman's father, Eugene, a larger-than-life, fire-and-brimstone orator who served as Governor. His death in 1946 sparked one of the greatest controversies of Southern political history--just who was to be appointed in his place? For some months. Herman and another pretender held court in the Governor's mansion, both claiming to be the rightful successors. Talmadge detractors have traditionally pointed to his encircling the statehouse with armed guards as an act of tyranny. Here Talmadge tells his own side of the affair, which ended in the State Supreme Court's decision to eject him and hold a special election in 1948 (which Talmadge won, terming it ""the restoration""). Although Herman gained a modicum of respect as a member of the Watergate Committee, his early days were typical of the segregationist politicians of the Deep South (he relates the day in 1954 when he learned of the Supreme Court's ""Brown"" decision as the day that the Constitution was consigned to ashes). But the charm of this memoir is that, unlike other politicians, Talmadge doesn't soft-soap his past. Even today, he can write: ""One of the reasons why Northerners find it so difficult to understand race relations in the South is that Yankees tend to see the race before they do the individual."" Talmadge's final chapter ends on three touchy issues--his fight against alcoholism, his denunciation by the Senate for financial improprieties, and his defeat in his last Senate race by a landslide--an end that casts a pall over this whole memoir. An up-front account of a long, roller-coaster career in politics.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Peachtree