In This Review

Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics
Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics
By Robert G. Kaufman
University of Washington Press, 2000, 548 pp

The Cold War was an age of Jackson -- Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson. It is intriguing to read this book alongside Schlesinger's memoir. As a young member of Congress in the 1940s, Jackson's worldview was very close to that of Schlesinger, and he distilled those views into a creed for 40 years of political action. A bit older than Schlesinger, much less urbane, and far more ascetic, Jackson never wavered from being both a New Dealer and a fervent anticommunist. By the 1970s, however, that rigid sense of identity left Jackson more and more embattled within his Democratic Party. One ironic legacy was that this lifelong Democrat became an intellectual godfather for the Republican foreign policy elite that would follow Ronald Reagan, as illustrated by the careers of Jackson staffers such as Richard Perle, Jeane Kirkpatrick, John Lehman, and Elliott Abrams. This is an admiring biography, but that should not surprise the reader. Those who knew Jackson well found it easy to admire his honorable consistency -- even if they disagreed with his politics.