Hubert Humphrey The Conscience of the Country Arnold A. Offner

Publication date:
21 Aug 2018
Yale University Press
512 pages: 235 x 156mm
35 b-w illus.


Hubert Humphrey was one of the great liberal leaders of postwar American politics, yet because he never made it to the Oval Office, he has been largely overlooked by biographers. His career encompassed three well‑known high points: the civil rights speech at the 1948 Democratic Convention that risked his political future; his shepherding of the 1964 Civil Rights Act through the Senate; and his near‑victory in the 1968 presidential election, one of the angriest and most divisive in the country’s history.
Historian Arnold A. Offner has explored vast troves of archival records to recapture the life of the man Jimmy Carter thought deserved to be president. Offner gives us previously unknown details of Vice President Humphrey’s fractious relationship with Lyndon Johnson, shows how Johnson colluded with Richard Nixon to deny Humphrey the presidency, and describes the most neglected aspect of Humphrey’s career: his major legislative achievements after returning to the Senate in 1970.

Arnold A. Offner is Cornelia F. Hugel Professor of History Emeritus at Lafayette College. His previous books include Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945–1953, and American Appeasement: United States Foreign Policy and Germany, 1933–1938. He lives in Newton, MA.

“An outstanding account of the life and accomplishments of a man who was my friend and my hero. This book captures Hubert Humphrey’s passion and unwavering commitment to our nation’s highest ideals.”—President Jimmy Carter

"He devoted his life to public service; he was the first major politician of either party to champion the civil rights movement; he was an enormously effective lawmaker who understood compromise; he brought joy and integrity to American democracy. Why isn't Hubert Humphrey better remembered? With this excellent, thorough, readable biography by Arnold Offner, maybe he will be."—Evan Thomas, author of Robert Kennedy: His Life, Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World, and Being Nixon: A Man Divided

“Arnold Offner’s riveting account of the life and leadership of Hubert Humphrey shows us the man and legislator who fought to make the United States a more liberal and humane society and leader of a free and peaceful world order. We miss this ‘conscience of the country’ more than ever now.”—Walter F. Mondale

"A groundbreaking study of an American political giant. Every page crackles with excellent writing, eye-opening research and shrewd analysis."—Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America


“Well written and exhaustively researched, this is the definitive biography of Hubert Humphrey.”—Irwin F. Gellman, author of The President and The Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952–1961

“Hubert Humphrey was one of the twentieth century's political giants. In this gracefully written, insightful biography, Arnold Offner has captured the essence of the man and his times.“—Randall B. Woods, author of LBJ:Architect of American Ambition