Henry A. Wallace: His Search for a New World Order

Synopsis

"Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965) remains one of the most puzzling figures of twentieth-century American politics. While serving as secretary of agriculture during the Great Depression, vice president from 1941 to 1945, and an advocate for accommodation with the Soviet Union as the Progressive Party's candidate for president in 1948, Wallace continued a spiritual odyssey that shaped his quest for world peace. In this interpretive biography, Graham White and John Maze explore Wallace's political career, his enigmatic personality, and the origins and development of his social, political, and religious thought, including his mystical beliefs. According to White and Maze, an eclectic spiritualism and its attendant social attitudes were central to Wallace's political goals and the course of his public life. In particular, the authors explore the central conflict between Wallace's empirical scientific thought, invaluable especially in his administration of the Department of Agriculture, and his fascination with mystical beliefs and theosophical doctrines concerning reincarnation and the perfectibility of human-kind through the workings of unseen spiritual forces. These contradictory world views influenced Wallace's political agenda as he worked for the elimination of inequity and greed through free trade, shared technological development, and international economic cooperation. Drawing extensively on Wallace's personal papers, his political diary, and his 5,000-page memoir, this study sheds new light not only on Wallace himself, but also on the Roosevelt administration in which he served and on the course of the cold war." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved