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Does People Do It?: A Memoir (Oklahoma Stories and Storytellers)by Fred Harris
Synopses & Reviews
The well-known and#147;peopleand#8217;s politicianand#8221; recalls his life and career
One of Oklahomaand#8217;s most famous native sons, Fred Harris faced lifeand#8217;s challenges with the same resolve as a favorite uncle: and#147;Does people do it? If people does it, I can do it.and#8221; In this engaging memoir, he describes how he met those challenges head-on.
A child of the Great Depression, Harris grew up in the small town of Walters, Oklahoma, where he was born in a two-room house. He describes that upbringing and his initiation into state politics, and tells how he was elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of thirty-three. As he recounts his experiences in national politics, he yields an insightful look at the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.
Earning a reputation as a and#147;new populist,and#8221; Harris chaired the national Democratic Party and was a serious presidential candidate. Along the way, he encountered such giants as Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Robert F. Kennedy. Enlivening his account with firsthand conversations, Harris contributes to our understanding of the motivations and personalities of these figuresand#151;including the infamous tensions between Johnson and Kennedy. Despite rubbing elbows with such power brokers, Harris maintained his own reputation as a down-to-earth man of the people whose advocacy included American Indian causes.
Harris accomplished much in his distinguished career, championing human rights at home and around the world. His masterfully written memoir attests to a philosophical consistency and humane liberalism that today are all too rare.
Book News Annotation:
A memoir of native Oklahoman and former chairman of the Democratic Party, this book is Fred Harris' colorful account of his days as a "New Populist," dealing with such statesmen as LBJ, Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. The author includes firsthand conversations with these men to document his own career in politics, which included two terms as U.S. Senator. Targeting a general audience, this book also examines Harris' advocacy of Native American rights in his home state, and his views on human rights around the world. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Twice elected to the U.S. Senate from Oklahoma, Fred Harris is now Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including his most recent novel, Following the Harvest.
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