WALLACE World--NAL by Marshall Frady

WALLACE World--NAL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The chief spoilsport in contemporary politics, Alabamian George Wallace, is billed here as ""the greatest of the American demagogues."" Frady, a Newsweek reporter who has accompanied Wallace on campaign 'tours, sets out to do a hatchet job, does it, but still leaves us with a picture of a likable (though rabid) Southerner. It's just that Wallace knows himself so well, is ""except for his racial aberration"" a Populist reformer, and, well, he sounds like folks. As governor, his platform was conservative but his program was liberal: ""I'm not one of these ultra, conservatives. They against everything. The only thing they for is the dollar, that's all they want to conserve."" He spent unprecedented amounts for roads, bridges, parks, industrialization, and social services: ""What we spose to do. That ain't no giveaway, that's easin' suffering, that heppin' folks."" Frady shows how tile boy from the hills made himself state legislator, nationally-known racist circuit judge, governor (who faced down Robert Kennedy and finally lost), and then, because he could not succeed himself, shadow, governor to his wife Lurleen. Frady says he wrote the book because Wallace's candidacy could throw the Presidential election into the House of Representatives--a less likely possibility since the death of Kennedy. With the death also of Lurleen, Wallace lost his role as shadow-governor and seems headed for a political limbo. Wallace, however, remains a colorful candidate. And Wallace, as the portrait of a latter-day Huey Long, is well worth reading.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1968