Hope and Fear in Margaret Chase Smith's America: A Continuous Tangle provides a fresh interpretation of the life, career, and legacy of former United States Senator Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman elected to both houses of the U.S. Congress. The book examines the critical connections made by Smith to key policymakers, links that allowed her to overcome opposition and prejudice to gain access, influence, and power in Washington, D.C. Highlighting the tangle of personalities and events in America from 1940 to 1972, the book focuses on Smith’s courageous and often solitary efforts on behalf of women during the 1940s, and her stand during the McCarthy era which earned her a national reputation for civility in public discourse. It also examines her key interactions with the group of U.S. Senators who were elected with her in 1948 and their work to forge public policy in the aftermath of McCarthyism, including domestic and international policy following Sputnik, the creation of the Space Program, civil rights, Vietnam, and Medicare. Against these events and activities, the book demonstrates the impact of the nation’s commitment to anticommunism and nuclear weapons which allowed politicians like Margaret Chase Smith to embrace contradictory stances on political dissent, military policy, and the role of government in American society.
Gregory P. Gallant
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Review of Greg Gallant, Hope and Fear in Margaret Chase Smith’s America (Lantham: Lexington Books, 2014). There have been a number of biographies of Margaret Chase Smith by Alberta Gould, Patricia Schmidt, Janann Sherman and Patricia Ward to name but a few. So one would imagine there is little more to tell. Yet this work plows new ground, providing illuminating detail about her thoughts, actions and the challenges she faced, including having to confront the reality of her husband’s illegitimate child after his death, all this while running to replace him in the U.S. Congress. By using the Cold War and changes in American society as a backdrop, the author captures the zeitgeist of America and positions Margaret Chase Smith at the center of its political landscape and gives the reader a most valuable and fresh look at those realities. As one of those interviewed for the work, I can attest to the accuracy of his recreation of that world as seen through the eyes of Bowdoin...
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