THE RISE OF DAVID DUKE by Tyler Bridges

THE RISE OF DAVID DUKE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A sobering, solidly researched portrait of the politically adept ``twisted fanatic'' who gained a majority of white votes in two statewide Louisiana races. A New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter who covered Duke's senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns from 1990 to 1992, Bridges speculates that Duke, a junior high school outcast whose father was often absent and whose mother was often drunk, found order and release in Nazi ideology. The rest of his book covers Duke's past, including his swastika-bedecked 1970 picket of lawyer William Kunstler, his telegenic plastic surgery, and his long association with the Ku Klux Klan. Bridges notes right-wing allies disgusted by Duke's womanizing; finds a former girlfriend who reports Duke's enthusiastic trip to a Nazi death camp; and discovers Duke's use of campaign funds for personal use. But Duke's more tempered, populist rhetoric, accompanied by attacks on (black) crime and welfare recipients in the state, won him a post as state representative in 1989. In kaleidoscopic style, Bridges ably portrays the strategies and players in Duke's subsequent bids for senator and for governor, when a massive counterattack, centered less on Duke's views than on his potential negative economic effect on the state (because of threatened boycotts), ensured his defeat. With many of his sentiments co-opted by Pat Buchanan, Duke's 1992 presidential bid fizzled, but he may rise again as a radio talk-show host. Duke's mesmerizing fervor deserves a portrait like Marshall Frady's Wallace. Until that biography arrives, this will be a vital resource. (40 b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-87805-678-5
Page count: 308pp
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1994




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