AUTHORRobertson, David
TITLESly and Able: A Political Biography of James F. Byrnes
PUBLISHERW.W. Norton & Company
CITYNew York, NY

This detailed, informative biography recounts the life and political efforts of influential state and national politician James F. “Jimmy” Byrnes. It recounts Byrnes’ childhood and early political life, and, in greater depth, his stints as a congressman, senator, Supreme Court justice, secretary of state, and governor of South Carolina. The author discusses Byrnes’ relationship with prominent politicians of his time, including Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. He also covers Byrnes’ role in passing New Deal legislation, his wartime economic work, his part in the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan during World War II, and his influence in bringing democratic South Carolina into Richard Nixon’s camp in 1968. Chapters 15 and 16 provide interesting insights concerning Byrnes' influence as Truman's secretary of state on the decision to use atomic bombs on Japan and his efforts to deal with the post-war Soviet Union. The book contains excellent footnotes and an extensive bibliography.

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