Cover image for Sarge : the life and times of Sargent Shriver
Sarge : the life and times of Sargent Shriver
Stossel, Scott.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington [D.C.] : Smithsonian Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxx, 761 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Part I: Youth (1915-1945) -- 1. States rights, religious freedom, and local self-government -- 2. The education of a leader -- 3. A Yale man -- 4. War -- Part II: The Chicago years (1945-1960) -- 5. Joseph P. Kennedy -- 6. Eunice -- 7. The long courtship -- 8. Marriage -- 9. Religion and civil rights -- 10. Chicago politics -- 11. Dawn of the new frontier -- 12. The talent hunt -- Part III: The peace corps (1961-1963) -- 13. The towering task -- 14. Shriver's Socratic seminar -- 15. The battle for independence -- 16. "The trip" -- 17. Storming Capitol Hill -- 18. Shriverizing -- 19. Timberlawn -- 20. Bigger, better, faster -- 21. Psychiatrists and astrologers -- 22. Growing pains -- 23. Tragedy -- Part IV: The war on poverty (1964-1968) -- 24. Shriver for vice president -- 25. Origins of the war on poverty -- 26. "Mr. Poverty" -- 27. A beautiful hysteria -- 28. Mobilizing for war -- 29. Wooing congress -- 30. The law of the jungle -- 31. "Political pornography" -- 32. Head start -- 33. A revolution in poverty law -- 34. "Double commander-in-chief" -- 35. The OEO in trouble -- 36. King of the hill -- 37. What next? -- Part V: France (1968-1970) -- 38. Springtime in Paris -- 39. "Sarjean Shreevair" -- 40. The 1968 election -- 41. Nixon in Paris -- 42. Au Revoir -- Part VI: Democratic politics (1970-1976) -- 43. The politics of life -- 44. International men of mystery -- 45. Shriver for vice president -- 46. Shriver for president -- Part VII: Private life, public service (1976-2003) -- 47. Nuclear politics -- 48. Special Olympics, a family affair -- 49. Faith and hope.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
E840.8.S525 S37 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Working for four presidents over six decades, R. Sargent "Sarge" Shriver founded the Peace Corps, launched the War on Poverty, created Head Start and Legal Services for the Poor, started the Special Olympics, and served as ambassador to France. Yet from the moment he married Joseph P. Kennedy's daughter Eunice in 1953, Shriver had to navigate a difficult course between independence and family loyalty that tended to obscure his incredible achievements.

Scott Stossel, through complete access to Shriver and his family, renders the story of his life in cinematic detail. Shriver's myriad historical legacies are testaments to the power of his vision and his ability to inspire others. But it is the colorful personality and indomitable spirit of the man himself--traits that allowed him to survive the Depression, WWII, and the Kennedy family--that will inspire readers today to expand the "horizons of the possible."

Author Notes

Scott Stossel is the editor of The Atlantic. He is the author of Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver and My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This is a superbly researched, immensely readable political biography by Stossel, a senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly. Although Sargent Shriver (b. 1915) was never victorious in electoral politics, he emerges here as one of the more adept and dedicated public servants of the 20th century. His early professional direction was determined less by his own ambition than by his relationship to the Kennedys through his marriage to John and Robert Kennedy's sister Eunice. Suspending his own political aspirations to devote his efforts to John's 1960 presidential campaign, he went on to serve as the first director of the Peace Corps. Worried about charges of nepotism, Shriver agreed to serve only if Kennedy put his nomination before the Senate for review. In the minds of many, he would never emerge from his connection to the Kennedys, but his legacy, as Stossel argues convincingly, is impressive in its own right. Shriver headed the War on Poverty for President Johnson, which led to the eventual creations of VISTA and Head Start, and other services for the poor. He later served as ambassador to France, created the Special Olympics, ran for vice-president with George McGovern in 1972, and was a candidate for the presidential nomination in 1976. While some may find Stossel's view of Shriver hagiographic, that may have less to do with Stossel than with his subject, an inspiring figure whose life reaffirms the power of politics and government to effect positive, creative change. Set against a century of totalitarianism, war and gross inhumanity, Shriver's devotion to the "empowerment of impoverished groups" is a model of integrity and idealism. 40 b&w photos. Agent, Ron Goldfarb. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Sargant Shriver is best remembered for running in 1972 for vice president with Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern in an inept campaign that ended the dominance of their party. Stossel, a senior editor at Atlantic Monthly, offers a sweeping portrayal of Shriver, which demonstrates that despite this ill-fated election, he was one of the most highly regarded political leaders of his time. Shriver married Eunice Kennedy, the President's sister, and, as Stossel convincingly shows, his career was both bolstered and constrained by his membership in the Kennedy family. Without the support of Joe Kennedy, the family patriarch, he would not have had the chance to be a player in high-level politics. However, Shriver's career was also hindered by the Kennedy political pecking order. He did achieve great success as the founder and director of the Peace Corps, director of the War on Poverty, ambassador to France, and founder of both Head Start and the Special Olympics. Stossel also includes compelling stories about Shriver's World War II heroism and his nerve-fraying role planning President Kennedy's funeral. Shriver is well served by this first-rate biography, which portrays him as a distinguished leader. Highly recommended for most public and academic libraries.-Karl 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.



Shriver sat bolt upright in his chair. His first thought was that he had misheard. His second thought was of Halloween 1938, when Orson Welles had inadvertently pitched America into a panic with his radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's War of  the Worlds, with its realistic simulation of a news broadcast announcing a Martian invasion. Could this Pearl Harbor bombing bulletin be simply another hoax, albeit a cruel and ill-timed one?    Unsure of what to do--not knowing whether to trust his own ears--Shriver picked up the phone and called the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where his brother Herbert was stationed as a junior naval officer. "Herbert," Sarge recalls saying when he got his brother on the phone. "Have you got the radio on?" Herbert said he did not. "Well turn it on, goddamnit," Sarge shouted, "turn it on! The Japs have attacked Pearl Harbor!" Herbert confirmed that he was hearing the same reports over his radio set.    With some trepidation, Shriver sounded General Quarters. In 1941 there was no Internet, no satellite communications, no CNN, no network television news--no way of knowing quickly or reliably what was going on six thousand miles away. So when Shriver flipped the switch that sounded the alarm all up and down the East Coast, sending switchboard operators aflutter trying to reach officers at their weekend country homes, or on golf courses, or at family dinners, he was initiating the first communication that most of these men were to receive regarding the attack. Moreover, when they heard the General Quarters alarm, most of them had no way of knowing why it was being sounded. Thus, within minutes of the sounding of General Quarters, Shriver's telephone was ringing off the hook. "Shriver!" went the typical refrain. "What the hell is going on here? You better have a damn good reason for interrupting my Sunday afternoon." Excerpted from Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver by Scott Stossel All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Bill Moyers
Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introductionp. xxi
Part 1 Youth (1915-1945)
1. States' Rights, Religious Freedom, and Local Self-Governmentp. 3
2. The Education of a Leaderp. 18
3. A Yale Manp. 31
4. Warp. 59
Part 2 The Chicago Years (1945-1960)
5. Joseph P. Kennedyp. 83
6. Eunicep. 95
7. The Long Courtshipp. 103
8. Marriagep. 111
9. Religion and Civil Rightsp. 117
10. Chicago Politicsp. 130
11. Dawn of the New Frontierp. 140
12. The Talent Huntp. 173
Part 3 The Peace Corps (1961-1963)
13. The Towering Taskp. 189
14. Shriver's Socratic Seminarp. 209
15. The Battle for Independencep. 218
16. "The Trip"p. 226
17. Storming Capitol Hillp. 233
18. Shriverizingp. 246
19. Timberlawnp. 259
20. Bigger, Better, Fasterp. 268
21. Psychiatrists and Astrologersp. 277
22. Growing Painsp. 288
23. Tragedyp. 297
Part 4 The War on Poverty (1964-1968)
24. Shriver for Vice Presidentp. 325
25. Origins of the War on Povertyp. 333
26. "Mr. Poverty"p. 345
27. A Beautiful Hysteriap. 355
28. Mobilizing for Warp. 372
29. Wooing Congressp. 379
30. The Law of the Junglep. 395
31. "Political Pornography"p. 402
32. Head Startp. 416
33. A Revolution in Poverty Lawp. 431
34. "Double Commander-in-Chief"p. 447
35. The OEO in Troublep. 452
36. King of the Hillp. 468
37. What Next?p. 481
Part 5 France (1968-1970)
38. Springtime in Parisp. 497
39. "Sarjean Shreevair"p. 507
40. The 1968 Electionp. 513
41. Nixon in Parisp. 537
42. Au Revoirp. 551
Part 6 Democratic Politics (1970-1976)
43. The Politics of Lifep. 561
44. International Men of Mysteryp. 568
45. Shriver for Vice Presidentp. 577
46. Shriver for Presidentp. 608
Part 7 Private Life, Public Service (1976-2003)
47. Nuclear Politicsp. 645
48. Special Olympics, a Family Affairp. 658
49. Faith and Hopep. 673
Notesp. 685
Bibliographyp. 729
Indexp. 739