Originally a New Deal liberal and aggressive anticommunist, Senator Eugene McCarthy famously lost faith with the Democratic party over Vietnam. His stunning challenge to Lyndon Johnson in the 1968 New Hampshire primary inspired young liberals and was one of the greatest electoral upsets in American history. But the 1968 election ultimately brought Richard Nixon and the Republican Party to power, irrevocably shifting the country’s political landscape to the right for decades to come.
Dominic Sandbrook traces one of the most remarkable and significant lives in postwar politics, a career marked by both courage and arrogance. Sandbrook draws on extensive new research – including interviews with McCarthy himself – to show convincingly how Eugene McCarthy’s political experience embodies the larger decline of American liberalism after World War II. These were tumultuous times in American politics, and Sandbrook vividly captures the drama and historical significance through his intimate portrait of a singularly interesting man at the heart of it all.
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|Title of History eBook: Eugene McCarthy|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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The Watkins Wonder
Eugene Joseph McCarthy was born in the small town of Watkins, Minnesota, on 29 March 1916. Although he was half German by blood, McCarthy always presented himself as an Irishman, relishing his frequent trips to Ireland and long conversations about Irish literature over a glass of whisky. His mother's parents were in fact German Catholics, while his father's family was Irish. His paternal grandparents, Michael McCarthy and Mary Harbinson, hailed from County Cork and County Antrim respectively; they had met in Quebec and moved to Minnesota in the 1870s. There was said to be much of the elder Michael McCarthy in his grandson. "He was always real interested in politics, and in reading the newspapers and finding out what was going on," recalled Eugene's elder sister Mildred. Eugene noted that his grandfather was said to have been "especially learned about and agitated by the British treatment of the Irish over the centuries." Eugene's father, also named Michael, was born in 1875, one of eleven children. Eugene's mother, Anna Baden, was the daughter of a Bavarian miller and blacksmith who had moved to Minnesota during the great surge of German Catholic immigration after the revolutions of 1848.
Eugene was Anna's third child. He had two older sisters, Mildred and Marian, and when he was two his mother gave birth to another son, Austin. Anna was forty when Eugene was born, and took responsibility for the four McCarthy children, since their father, a cattle buyer, was often away for months at a time. "Mother was the one who really raised us," explained her second son, Austin. She rarely raised he