The life (so far) of a master politician who daily sets new records as the US Senate's oldest and longest-serving member, now 96. Bass, an award-winning veteran South Carolina-based political writer, and Thompson, an investigations editor at the Washington Post, portray the controversial Thurmond as an unusual man of great political and physical courage (never a fence-sitter). Though long past draft age, he signed up the day after Pearl Harbor, joining the 82nd Airborne and taking part in the D-Day invasion of Utah Beach; he was wounded and highly decorated after linking up with the bloodied 4th Division. The authors then follow Thurmond's long political career, from his governorship of South Carolina and his subsequent election to the Senate through his opposition to the Democrats' civil rights program and his ultimate abandonment of the Democrats for the Republican Party, through his later efforts to move with the times, obtaining every sort of federal assistance for his state. Bass and Thompson describe his reaching out to improve the lot of blacks and traditional black colleges. The book covers the nonagenarian's personal life, as well, including his two marriages to women decades younger than himself. In sum, Thurmond emerges from this portrait as that rarity, a politician beloved by his constituents.