The Boy from Altheimer: From the Depression to the Boardroom
Bill Bowen’s memoir deals with many of the most important events and years in Arkansas history in the twentieth century. Bowen was born and raised in Altheimer, in the Arkansas Delta, a section of the country that was among the most impoverished in the nation during the Depression. His adolescence was shaped by the Depression, and as a young adult he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1963. After the war, Bowen became a tax attorney. He used his unique skills to refine the legal aspects of investment banking in Arkansas and became so proficient at it that he moved into the banking field to serve first as president then board chairman of one of Arkansas’s largest banks. Legal and banking experience led naturally to politics, and he became chief of staff for Gov. Bill Clinton. After Clinton announced his candidacy for president, it became Bowen’s task to protect the interests and programs of Governor Clinton in the face of intense pressure from then Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker to become de facto governor. Even in retirement he continued to lead an energetic, productive life as he prepared himself for yet another career, this one in education, serving two years as dean of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Law School, which now bears his name.
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