The Stevensons: A Biography of an American Family

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 592 pages
0 Reviews
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

THE STEVENSONS: A Biography of an American Family

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A wide-ranging biography of perennial also-ran Adlai Stevenson which demonstrates that character is destiny. Stevenson has been the subject of several recent books, but Baker (History/ Goucher Coll ... Read full review

The Stevensons: a biography of an American family

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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


Postwar Dilemmas
Cleaning House
Notes 481

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information