The Stevensons: A Biography of an American Family

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jun 1, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 592 pages
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In this major work of American biography and history, Jean Baker tells the compelling story of four generations of Stevensons, from the earliest Scotch Irish settlers to the present, framed by the life and career of the icon of liberal politics, Adlai E. Stevenson II. In an early appeal for party support, Adlai Stevenson once confessed to "a bad case of hereditary politics." He revealed more than he knew. From the family dinners in the Stevenson home in Bloomington, Illinois, when Grandfather - an inveterate pol - held forth on his life in Democratic politics and young Adlai flipped butterballs at the ceiling, to Adlai's unstable upbringing by an overbearing mother and an absent father, the Stevenson family shaped its favorite son. The political stance for which Stevenson is remembered, a searching, high-minded independence, communicated with striking eloquence, drew on the history his family transmitted to him and the emotions it forged. In Jean Baker's hands, the Stevenson story is an American saga. It is the story of Scotch Irish immigrants scratching out a farm existence first in Pennsylvania, then Virginia, Kentucky, and finally Illinois, where they rose to social and political prominence. In the ways they bore, raised, and educated their children, worshiped in their churches, married in their communities, built their houses, followed the paths of women and men, and moved from country to town to city over four generations, we see the ways of Americans over the life of this country.
 

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The Stevensons: a biography of an American family

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Baker (history, Goucher Coll.) skillfully combines traditional, individual-based biography with social history to tell the story of the Stevensons, the first family of moderate American liberalism ... Read full review

Contents

Postwar Dilemmas
3
Cleaning House
29
I OPPORTUNITIES
185
ECHOES
441
Notes 481
547
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About the author (1997)

Jean Harvey Baker is the author of many books on nineteenth-century American history. She is a professor of history at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

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