Cover image for Mike Mansfield, majority leader : a different kind of Senate, 1961-1976
Mike Mansfield, majority leader : a different kind of Senate, 1961-1976
Valeo, Francis R. (Francis Ralph), 1916-2006.
Publication Information:
Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, [1999]

Physical Description:
xi, 284 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Reading Level:
1330 Lexile.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E840.8.M25 V35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The story of Mike Mansfield's influential fifteen-year reign as Senate Majority Leader is colored with some of the most important events of this century: the election of John F. Kennedy, the Kennedy and King assassinations, student and political unrest of the late Sixties, Vietnam, Watergate, the Nixon resignation, and numerous important pieces of legislation from the era, among them the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Valeo, Secretary of the Senate under Mansfield, writes about the Senate and Mansfield's role in national affairs from 1961-76. He argues that Mansfield was instrumental in shaping a more egalitarian kind of Senate than that of the 1950s, when Lyndon B. Johnson was Majority Leader.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Asked to name the longest-serving Senate majority leader, most Americans would probably cite Lyndon Johnson, but the correct answer is Mansfield, Johnson's self-effacing but effective successor. Valeo was Secretary of the Senate under Mansfield; his biography supplies a thorough analysis of the Montana senator's 16 years (1961^-76) at the helm of Congress' upper house. A veteran of 10 years in the House when he came to the Senate in 1952, Mansfield spent 24 years in the Senate, then served 12 years as U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Valeo's book concentrates on his Senate years: working with four presidents (from Kennedy to Ford), and dealing with controversial issues, from civil rights and Medicare to Vietnam and Watergate. Mansfield was known for two positions: his rigorous defense of the dignity and powers of the Senate as an institution; and his independent view of the role of the U.S. in the postwar world. For these ideas and Mansfield's vital role in a generation of congressional accomplishments, Valeo's biography belongs in libraries. --Mary Carroll

Library Journal Review

The Washington Post's David Broder recently called 96-year-old Mike Mansfield "the greatest living American." Mansfield served as senate majority leader from 1961 through 1976Älonger than any otherÄduring John Kennedy's New Frontier, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, and Richard Nixon's truncated presidency, an era of dynamic legislative activity unmatched since the New Deal of the 1930s. Valeo, secretary of the senate under Mansfield, does not provide the full-scale biography that Mansfield deserves but rather a focused investigation of the major issues of the majority leader's tenureÄthe 1964 Civil Rights Act, Great Society legislation, Mansfield's opposition to Johnson's Vietnam policies, and the rise and fall of Nixon. Mansfield's modesty, generous sharing of credit, and respect for the traditions of the Senate endeared him to both Democrats and Republicans. The saga of HR 7152 (which became the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964) is more eloquently and thoroughly told in Robert Mann's The Walls of Jericho (LJ 5/15/96), but Valeo offers a skilled overview of Mansfield's leadership and senatorial triumphs. Recommended for academic and larger public library collections.ÄKarl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Valeo was for many years one of a small group of indispensable staff members who worked mostly behind the scenes in the US Senate, acting by appointment of Senator Mike Mansfield, Democrat of Montana, who was majority leader from 1961 to 1976. This book gives a narrative, mainly drawn from Valeo's recollections, of Mansfield's majority leadership years. It therefore has documentary significance for close students of the Senate. Some readers will find Valeo's dutiful account of politics in the Mansfield era in the Senate unexpectedly bland and will wonder why Mansfield's own direct testimony is so seldom in evidence, as, for example, when Lyndon Johnson as vice president sought to retain influence over the Senate Democratic caucus. For upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and faculty collections. N. W. Polsby; University of California, Berkeley

Table of Contents

Prelude. A Snowy Day in Washington
1 Capitol Hill Transition, 1961
2 The Kennedy Years, 1961-1963
Interlude A Bleak Day in Dallas
3 A New Approach to Civil Rights Legislation
4 Passing the Civil Rights Act, 1964
5 Mansfield and Vietnam: The Johnson Years, 1964-1968
6 From China to Watergate: The Nixon Years, 1968-1974
7 Legislating the Great Society Postlude
A Time to Go