RONNIE AND JESSE: A Political Odyssey by Lou Cannon

RONNIE AND JESSE: A Political Odyssey

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Ronnie and Jesse aren't lovers; their prospective clash in 1970 for the governorship of California makes this dual biography and scrutiny of California's volatile politics a ripe worm for political early birds anticipating a contest of national interest. Although one suspects that Cannon (an award-winning journalist) would cast his ballot for Mr. Unruh, his treatment of both contenders is frank and fair and there are no obvious breaches of objectivity. The material on Reagan sheds no significant new light on a career already well chronicled in William Boyarsky's The Rise of Ronald Reagan (1968), though there is much intimate detail (and he was a fine actor!). Unruh is a fresher subject, and Cannon accentuates his ""poor boy from Texas"" origins, his USC campus and California Democratic Guild activism, his rise to legislative power as Assembly Speaker and redoubtable ""Big Daddy"" notorious for his Lockup of recalcitrant Republicans during a budget dispute, and the inner changes he has since undergone to emerge in the 1968 national campaign as a committed ""New Politician"" now headed for a symbolic confrontation with Reagan in 1970: ""a contest between an old liberalism in a new, undogmatic guise and a new conservatism that seeks old meanings."" Choice pre-fight coverage.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday