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Legacy to Power
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Long's decision not to seek reelection to the Senate from Louisiana in 1986 brought an end to almost four decades of service in that body. The son of former Louisiana governor and senator Huey Long, and the nephew of another former governor, Earl Long, Russell lacks the flamboyant, populist style of his father and uncle. But he was one of the masters of the rules and folkways of the Senate--using his position as chair of the Finance Committee and his coalition-building skills to shape numerous major pieces of legislation. Biographer Mann, a former press secretary of Long, examines Long's career from a favorable but not entirely uncritical perspective. The book will be a useful addition to collections emphasizing modern American politics. Other recent books on Louisiana's First Family are William Ivy Hair's The Kingfish and His Realm: The Life and Times of Huey Long ( LJ 9/15/91) and Michael L. Kurtz and Morgan D. Peoples's Earl K. Long: The Saga of Uncle Earl and Louisiana Politics ( LJ 3/1/90).-- Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette

Noting that this authorized biography was subject to minor editorial control by its subject, Mann, Long's former press secretary, provides a detailed though subjective chronicle of an eventful political career. Son of the flamboyant Louisiana senator ``Kingfish'' Huey Long, who was assassinated in 1935, Russell Long served as U.S. Senator from 1948 to 1987, exercising enormous power as head of the Finance Committee. A congressional wheeler dealer in the manner of Lyndon Johnson, the shrewd Long knew how to use his influence and when to compromise. Although he favored segregation and initially opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, he eventually moderated his stance. The author presents Long's regressive position on tax and energy reform in a kindly light in a readable political biography that is regrettably devoid of meaningful analysis. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)

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