The Good Fight
A Life in Liberal Politics
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
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Former vice president Walter Mondale makes a passionate, timely argument for American liberalism in this revealing and momentous political memoir.
For more than five decades in public life, Walter Mondale has played a leading role in America’s movement for social change—in civil rights, environmentalism, consumer protection, and women’s rights—and helped to forge the modern Democratic Party.
In The Good Fight, Mondale traces his evolution from a young Minnesota attorney general, whose mentor was Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, into a U.S. senator himself. He was instrumental in pushing President Johnson’s Great Society legislation through Congress and battled for housing equality, against poverty and discrimination, and for more oversight of the FBI and CIA. Mondale’s years as a senator spanned the national turmoil of the Nixon administration; its ultimate self-destruction in the Watergate scandal would change the course of his own political fortunes.
Chosen as running mate for Jimmy Carter’s successful 1976 campaign, Mondale served as vice president for four years. With an office in the White House, he invented the modern vice presidency; his inside look at the Carter administration will fascinate students of American history as he recalls how he and Carter confronted the energy crisis, the Iran hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and other crucial events, many of which reverberate to the present day.
Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election set the stage for Mondale’s own campaign against Reagan in 1984, when he ran with Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman on a major party ticket; this progressive decision would forever change the dynamic of presidential elections.
With the 1992 election of President Clinton, Mondale was named ambassador to Japan. His intriguing memoir ends with his frank assessment of the Bush-Cheney administration and the first two years of the presidency of Barack Obama. Just as indispensably, he charts the evolution of Democratic liberalism from John F. Kennedy to Clinton to Obama while spelling out the principles required to restore the United States as a model of progressive government.
The Good Fight is replete with Mondale’s accounts of the many American political heavyweights he encountered as either an ally or as an opponent, including JFK, Johnson, Humphrey, Nixon, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Senator Gary Hart, Reagan, Clinton, and many others.
Eloquent and engaging, The Good Fight illuminates Mondale’s philosophies on opportunity, governmental accountability, decency in politics, and constitutional democracy, while chronicling the evolution of a man and the country in which he is lucky enough to live.
“The Good Fight is Walter Mondale’s personal story and the story of more than half a century of progressive politics, of its victories and defeats in the search for civil rights, social justice, and economic opportunity for all Americans. Walter Mondale is the best kind of public man – intelligent, honest, hard-working, effective. It’s rare to find a man so good and wise who’s also funny as can be. Whatever your own politics, if you love your country, you should read this book.” –President Bill Clinton
“An illuminating memoir by a notably decent, thoughtful, genuine, likeable and underestimated American leader. Walter Mondale offers a memorable, sometimes surprising account of vanished worlds—a prewar country boyhood, the liberal farmer-labor politics of old Minnesota, a U.S. Senate in which collegiality was not an epithet, with intriguing glimpses of figures like Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy—as well as a fresh and revealing look at life with President Jimmy Carter and Mondale's own campaign for the White House. One cannot read this volume without reflecting on how much our political culture has changed, and by no means entirely for the better.” —Michael Beschloss
“Fritz Mondale and I worked side by side in the White House through four intense years of challenges and left office with a friendship that would last a lifetime. We were also able to tell the American people: “We told the truth, we obeyed the law, we kept the peace.” This memoir is a compelling history of those years and of the life of the remarkable man I know Fritz to be.” —President Jimmy Carter