Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus

Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus

Rick Perlstein

Language: English

Pages: 704

ISBN: 1568584121

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Acclaimed historian Rick Perlstein chronicles the rise of the conservative movement in the liberal 1960s. At the heart of the story is Barry Goldwater, the renegade Republican from Arizona who loathed federal government, despised liberals, and mocked “peaceful coexistence” with the USSR. Perlstein’s narrative shines a light on a whole world of conservatives and their antagonists, including William F. Buckley, Nelson Rockefeller, and Bill Moyers. Vividly written, Before the Storm is an essential book about the 1960s.

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eyes to see; the flaws in his pairing with Mary Todhunter (“Tod”) Clark, a flinty Philadelphia society girl whom he had married just six days out of college in 1930, were evident before the union took place. The affairs began within the decade, abetted by Rocky’s tendency to administrative overreach: even in his wartime office he carried seven secretaries, each more lovely, clever, and voluble than the last; serially, he would set up a secretary almost as a second wife in the townhouse he kept

and equalizing funding for all schools regardless of property valuations—and who promised to fire Alan Greenspan, counseled withdrawal from the World Trade Organization, and, for good measure, spoke warmly of adolescent sexual experimentation. He would lose in a landslide. He would be relegated to the ash heap of history. But if the precedent of 1964 were repeated, two years later the country would begin electing dozens of men and women just like him. And not many decades later, Republicans would

and to Discredit the Conservatives, pamphlet, AC. “Even I have been shocked”: “Far Right and Far Left,” NYP, April 5, 1964. 333 For scene on plane and tarmac at Georgia GOP convention, see National Broadcasting Company, Somehow It Works: A Candid Portrait of the 1964 Presidential Election (New York: Doubleday, 1965), 32; Time, May 15, 1964; and Peterson to White, May 19, 1964, Box 8/Other Corres. For “Gold Water”: n.d., clipping in SHBGS; Goldwater on Steve Allen show, May 29, 1964, transcript

the letters of recommendation that helped several benefactors see the merits of my case. These include Michael Kazin, Nick Salvatore, David Kennedy, Nelson Lichtenstein, David Farber, and Tom Sugrue. And thank you, thank you, to those benefactors who did see the merits of my case: the Rockefeller Archive Center, the LBJ Library, the Dick Goldensohn Fund—and, especially, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Margaret Chase Smith Library. The former’s contribution kept me in food,

“highlighted a definite turn back from the left, which will make it easier for the soundly factual books which you publish to obtain a wider readership.” Welch offered to buy enough stock to join his board of directors. Regnery refused—then he refused to publish Welch’s hulking allegorical novel on the civilization of ants who were seduced into accepting a paternalistic government that soon came to enslave them. Regnery accepted one more book from Welch. The Life of John Birch: In the Story of

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