Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church

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Washington State University Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 749 pages
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Fifteen years in the making, Fighting the Odds is a milestone in western political biography. Authors LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer take readers on a dramatic tour of post-World War II America, as experienced in Frank Church's twenty-four years in the Senate. From 1957 to 1981, Church stood at the center of searing national debates, emerging as one of the twentieth century's most respected and influential senators. Ashby and Gramer illuminate the battle for the 1957 Civil Rights Act, the emergence of the Senate's anti-Vietnam coalition, conflicts over environmental legislation in the 1960s and 1970s, the fight over the Panama Canal treaties, and Church's highly publicized investigations of the CIA, FBI, and multinational corporations. Interspersed is the gripping tale of the 1976 presidential campaign when Church, the "late, late candidate, " upset frontrunner Jimmy Carter in several key primaries. Throughout his life, Frank Church fought formidable odds. Almost dying of cancer at age twenty-four, he viewed the rest of his life as borrowed time. In 1956 he won a Senate seat, though he had never before held elective office. At thirty-two he became one of the youngest persons ever to take a seat in the U. S. Senate. He served four terms in the Senate - the only Idaho Democrat to ever serve more than one. Defeated in the Republican landslide election of 1980, Frank Church died of cancer in 1984. Fighting the Odds is "a meticulously researched, comprehensive, eminently fair biography, " according to award-winning historian William L. O'Neill. It is destined to become a classic of American political writing.

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FIGHTING THE ODDS: The Life of Senator Frank Church

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An exhaustive, nicely done biography of the late Idaho senator Frank Church, whose four terms (1957-81) ran from the beginning of the Cold War to the post-Vietnam era. A liberal Democrat who ... Read full review



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About the author (1994)

LeRoy Ashby is professor of history at Washington State University.

Rod Gramer is a veteran journalist who has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor and television news executive in Idaho, Oregon, and Florida. He currently lives in Idaho with his wife, Julie. He is co-author of "Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church "which details the Church Committee's investigation into serious abuses of power by the FBI and CIA. The book won the 1994 Evans Prize for Biography.

Concerned about the rise of the national intelligence state post-9/11, as well as the poor treatment many returning veterans receive, Gramer decided to tackle tough questions that could be ripped from today's headlines.

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