In the tradition of Clay and Calhoun he served in the United States Senate until they shipped him home from Washington in his coffin. He was no less eloquent than they were and no less determined to protect his beloved South. The problem was that by the end of his service he had become a lone voice in the wilderness where even a kind word in his behalf could end a political career. This is by no means a fair and balanced appraisal of his work, nor is it even a complete one, it is however about the best we will get until the revisionists resurrect him one hundred years hence and place the deserved laurels on his grave.
Strom : the complicated personal and political life of Strom Thurmond Jack Bass and Marilyn W. Thompson Legislators United States Biography, Thurmond, Strom, 1902-2003 New York : Public Affairs, c 2005 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xvi, 415 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 369-392) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
In Strom, Jack Bass and Marilyn W. Thompson deliver a remarkable look at the life of a remarkable — and complicated — politician. First elected to public office in 1929, Strom Thurmond was a pivotal figure in the nation’s politics for more than seven decades particularly when it came to issues of race: the Dixiecrat presidential candidate in 1948, originator of the 1956 “Southern Manifesto” against the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, holder of the record for a Senate filibuster for his opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Bill. Yet as a young man Thurmond had secretly fathered a daughter with the family’s black maid, and quietly supported her through college and beyond.
An intense public examination of Thurmond’s legacy began when he left the Senate at age 100, continued when he passed away soon after and only grew when Essie Mae Washington-Williams announced in December 2003 that she was the senator’s long-rumored black daughter.
Bass and Thompson knew Strom better than any other journalists. They both covered him for years and broke the big stories. In Strom, they tell us a great deal about power and politics in our nation and race’s twisted roots in the 20th century South.