Testing the Limits

George Armistead Smathers and Cold War America

Title Details

Illustrations: 8 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 09/02/1999

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2103-5

List Price: $46.95

Testing the Limits

George Armistead Smathers and Cold War America

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  • Description
  • Reviews

A Floridian who served as a U.S. Senator from 1950 to 1968, George Armistead Smathers is generally regarded as a playboy politician who wasted his opportunities to achieve legal and political brilliance, abandoning his constituency to represent business, industry, and other wealthy interests in Florida. This detailed chronicle of Smathers's life and career reveals that his reputation was sensationalized and largely undeserved.

Brian Lewis Crispell incorporates lively anecdotes and personal descriptions, in addition to details culled from research in newspapers, interviews, and the archives of Kennedy, Johnson, Truman, and Smathers himself, to bring the largely unstudied senator to life. The work traces Smathers's political path from the forming of his "statewide collection of loyal men," a gathering of supporters from the University of Florida who formed his political base, through his election to the House, his successful 1950 Senate campaign against Claude Pepper, and his Senatorial career during the beginning of the civil rights movement and the early Cold War. Crispell highlights the senator's moderate civil rights record, role in the 1960 presidential election, and his internationalist position on aid to Latin America. This thoroughly researched account presents Smathers as the quintessential "Cold Warrior"-a man who significantly influenced his political world.

[Crispell] skillfully uses anecdotal and personal descriptions to bring the senator and those around him to life. . . . George Smathers is an important figure worthy of study, and Testing the Limits will fill a large gap in the historiography of Florida, the South, national politics, and the two decades after World War II.

—R. Hal Williams, coauthor of America: Past and Present

About the Author/Editor

BRIAN LEWIS CRISPELL teaches history and geography at the Thomas County Schools of Thomasville, Georgia. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.