The bulk of this autobiography by Hubert Humphrey was written shortly after he lost the 1968 presidential election with an ending chapter that briefly covered his life from then until 1975.Humphrey was at his best writing this book when recounting his childhood, young life and years in the Senate. His heartfelt memories of his family, his childhood home and how his family was forced to sell it during the Depression, and the sacrifices made for his on again off again college career show the shaping of his values along with his natural optimism. I especially enjoyed the stories of his father, a Democrat in small Midwestern towns where his progressive beliefs were typically in the minority but carried respect from those who disagreed with him--all the while struggling to support his family.I also enjoyed his recounting of his early years in the Senate where he began as an outcast, largely from his leadership of the adoption of the strong civil rights plank in the 1948 Democratic convention, to his increasing influence that resulted from his love of the Senate as an institution and his genuine affection and respect for fellow senators even when he was on opposing sides. I especially enjoyed the telling of the passage of the first civil rights act, one of my favorite parts was his accomodation of the health issues of Willis Robertson, the elderly senator from Virginia, during the fillibuster, and the poignant payback by Robertson who answered quorum calls for Humphrey when there were not enough pro civil rights senators on the floorHumphrey was less effective when writing about his experience as Vice President, the Vietnam War, and his Presidential campaign. He was perhaps too close in time to those experiences to be candid, understandably too bitter, though bitter seems too strong a word, about those experiences to be completely objective about the people and his experiencesBut all in all, a great book about one of our true leaders from the mid 20th centuryAndrew Kaiser
The dude loved and was inspired by his all-american, action-oriented father, and rightfully so. While I wish more of the book was directed around the Hubert's ideas and actions while in office, I can nonetheless appreciate the candidness with which he wrote this auto.Stuart
This was one the best political (auto)-biographies I've read. I previously only knew Humphrey as the Democratic loser of the '68 election. This candid revealing memoir outlines his life of victories and losses, doubts and hopes. He, along with Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the true liberal heroes of the mid-20th century. Especially as the line voice in congress for civil rights in 1948. I highly recommend this book for political history readers.