When Daniel Patrick Moynihan died in 2003 the Economist described him as “a philosopher-politician-diplomat who two centuries earlier would not have been out of place among the Founding Fathers.” Though Moynihan never wrote an autobiography, he was a gifted author and voluminous correspondent, and in this selection from his letters Steven Weisman has compiled a vivid portrait of Moynihan’s life, in the senator’s own words.
Before his four terms as Senator from New York, Moynihan served in key positions under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. His letters offer an extraordinary window into particular moments in history, from his feelings of loss at JFK’s assassination, to his passionate pleas to Nixon not to make Vietnam a Nixon war, to his frustrations over healthcare and welfare reform during the Clinton era.
This book showcases the unbridled range of Moynihan’s intellect and interests, his appreciation for his constituents, his renowned wit, and his warmth even for those with whom he profoundly disagreed. Its publication is a significant literary event.