Borah of Idaho focuses on William Borah: an all-time giant of the Senate and one of the most enigmatic of American statesmen. He was the nonconformist par excellence: a Republican by inheritance, a Democrat by inclination, "just plain Bill" to his constituents, an intellectual recluse to his colleagues; a staunch Progressive, and an opponent of the New Deal; a relentless enemy of the League of Nations, yet sponsor of the Foundation for the Outlawry of War; an isolationist who fought for recognition of the Soviet Union; a moralist who opposed the Child Labor Amendment.
This, his first full-length biography, makes use of a vast collection of Borah's unpublished papers, and with fresh material at her disposal author Marian C. McKenna provides a colorful and convincing interpretation of his career. It was unmistakably American, filled with the vigor of Western frontier life and the rough and tumble of politics, local and national. Borah was that rare flower of an earlier America: the practical man governed by almost mystic loyalties to the American dream. Few men have been so eminently expressive of their time, yet throughout his six terms in the Senate he preserved an amazing freedom of thought and action. Many of the abuses he fought—monopoly, bureaucracy, secret diplomacy, federal extravagance—are perennial problems of the Republic, more pervasive now than they were in his day.
The pages of this book are crowded with the notables of every administration from Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin Delano Roosevelt: LaFollette, Bryan, Wilson, Lodge, Knox, Stimson, Coolidge, Hoover—the men at the helm when the United States was achieving maturity and taking her place as a world power.