The Education of Ernie Dumas: Chronicles of the Arkansas Political Mind
Like The Education of Henry Adams, the early twentieth-century classic from which this book derives its name, Adams described the ascent, or descent, of a postwar social and political order into something that a few people called modernity. But Dumas follows this evolution, not in the United States as Adams did, but in insular Arkansas.
Beginning with the defeat of Governor Francis Cherry by the son of a hillbilly socialist at the end of the Joe McCarthy era, Dumas traces the development of a modernist political cast that eventually produced Arkansas’s first president of the United States. It follows the seed from 1978 that would germinate into the second impeachment of an American president.
Dumas has written for newspapers and about politics for sixty-three years, since 1954, the year that the stolid Cherry fell to Orval Eugene Faubus. The book is a political memoir that describes not only his education in the ways of politicians but the politicians’ own education and miseducation in how you win voters and then how you get things done.
It is mostly a collection of untold stories, often deeply personal, that reveal the inner struggles and sometimes the tribulations of the state’s leaders—Cherry, Faubus, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, John McClellan, J. William Fulbright, Bill Clinton, Jim Guy Tucker, and others.
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