Before the house had Tip O'Neill, there was John McCormack. How did this man, with an eighth grade education and a false family history, become Speaker of the House of Representatives, and later next in line to be President of the United States? In this exhaustive political biography, Garrison Nelson lays out every detail of the life and work of an incredibly forceful and important American politician.
The book details the roles McCormack played in the creation of Social Security and the passage of Lend-Lease, Medicare and Medicaid as well as the secret funding of the atomic bomb. The book ties together relationships, showing how this suave and secretive politician contributed to the selection of his “poker pal” Harry Truman as vice president in 1944 and in 1960, as JFK's named “floor manager,” helped orchestrate Lyndon Johnson acceptance of JFK's vice presidential invitation. This groundbreaking research examines the machinations of congress, and also takes a close look at a critical time in US history, as American erupted with conflicts over civil rights and the Vietnam War. The lessons learned in McCormack's life in office still resonate with today's political leadership, and have an impact on the legacy of the JFK Presidency, the role of congress, the shape of the Democratic party, and a powerful generation of politicians.