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Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriverby Scott Stossel
Synopses & Reviews
Working for four presidents over six decades, R. Sargent “Sarge” Shriver founded the Peace Corps, launched the War on Poverty, created Head Start and Legal Services for the Poor, started the Special Olympics, and served as ambassador to France. Yet from the moment he married Joseph P. Kennedy’s daughter Eunice in 1953, Shriver had to navigate a difficult course between independence and family loyalty that tended to obscure his incredible achievements.
Scott Stossel, through complete access to Shriver and his family, renders the story of his life in cinematic detail. Shriver’s myriad historical legacies are testaments to the power of his vision and his ability to inspire others. But it is the colorful personality and indomitable spirit of the man himself—traits that allowed him to survive the Depression, WWII, and the Kennedy family—that will inspire readers today to expand the “horizons of the possible.”
"This is a superbly researched, immensely readable political biography by Stossel, a senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly. Although Sargent Shriver (b. 1915) was never victorious in electoral politics, he emerges here as one of the more adept and dedicated public servants of the 20th century. His early professional direction was determined less by his own ambition than by his relationship to the Kennedys through his marriage to John and Robert Kennedy's sister Eunice. Suspending his own political aspirations to devote his efforts to John's 1960 presidential campaign, he went on to serve as the first director of the Peace Corps. Worried about charges of nepotism, Shriver agreed to serve only if Kennedy put his nomination before the Senate for review. In the minds of many, he would never emerge from his connection to the Kennedys, but his legacy, as Stossel argues convincingly, is impressive in its own right. Shriver headed the War on Poverty for President Johnson, which led to the eventual creations of VISTA and Head Start, and other services for the poor. He later served as ambassador to France, created the Special Olympics, ran for vice-president with George McGovern in 1972, and was a candidate for the presidential nomination in 1976. While some may find Stossel's view of Shriver hagiographic, that may have less to do with Stossel than with his subject, an inspiring figure whose life reaffirms the power of politics and government to effect positive, creative change. Set against a century of totalitarianism, war and gross inhumanity, Shriver's devotion to the 'empowerment of impoverished groups' is a model of integrity and idealism. 40 b&w photos. Agent, Ron Goldfarb. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
A senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly recounts the life and career of Shriver (b. 1915) who married into the Kennedy family in the 1950s, was the drive behind the Peace Corps and the War on Poverty during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and continued to be active in the Democratic Party until 1976.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Stossel, through complete access to Sargent Shriver and his family, renders the story of his colorful life in cinematic detail--from his monumental achievements such as founding the Peace Corps and the Special Olympics, to marrying a Kennedy.
About the Author
Scott Stossel is a senior editor at Atlantic Monthly. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, and other publications. A frequent commentator on NPR, the BBC, and CNN, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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