HUBERT: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Humphrey I Knew by

HUBERT: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Humphrey I Knew

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Humphrey's personal physician and close friend seems to have a two-fold purpose: to eulogize HH and blast those who didn't appreciate his ""sensitivity and loyalty""--like ""naturally arrogant and dominating"" LBJ. Edgar Berman (The Solid Gold Stethoscope) met Humphrey in the late Fifties, and their friendship spanned the Vice-Presidency, Vietnam, Humphrey's '68 defeat, and final years; but the chronology is sometimes confused--Berman reminiscing about events before describing them--and the character analyses are superficial. Humphrey was ""a political mutant""--unchanged by power, pressure, or adversity. He was loyal and he was earthy (unlike McGovern and Mondale who, Berman writes, ""quickly took to well-tailored Bond Street suits and Gucci loafers""). True, he never stood up to Joe McCarthy, talked too much, and was chronically late. But Berman says his staff was ""weak"" and given to ""wanton"" abuse of petty cash; and Humphrey was betrayed by the likes of Mondale (in '68), Coretta King and Jesse Jackson (in '72), and even Walter Cronkite--""that epitome of avuncular rectitude,"" who ""played up"" the Chicago convention troubles ""as if they were Humphrey's fault entirely."" Humphrey disliked Nixon, Eugene McCarthy, Joe Califano, and Robert McNamara (HH: that ""robot brain with the slicked down stacomb look""); and he referred to LBJ as a ""no-good son of a bitch"" after the Presidential threat to ""dry up every Democratic dollar"" in '68 because HH wavered on Vietnam (according to Berman, Humphrey's true anti-war feelings never came out). Considering Humphrey's yen to be liked, one wonders if he would appreciate all this bad-mouthing--the only thing that livens up the book.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1979
Publisher: Putnam