Book Review of The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics

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Good, bad, ugly — and all ours

Rob Christensen’s “The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics” is a remarkable disclosure of the disconcerting reality that power must be seized and that there is no nice way to seize it … even if you are a North Carolinian! It is the story of the paradox of strong, effective leaders who were Sunday school-teaching womanizers dedicated to the Machiavellian principle that the greater good justifies the unbridled ruthlessness of political machines that do whatever it takes to maintain power.

“The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics” is the well-told story of North Carolina’s 20th century political dynasties forged by patronage, cronyism, kickbacks, fraud, character assassination and the high art of stealing elections honorably. It’s the story of political life along the dusty roads of rural North Carolina, where three out of four of our forebears lived in the country and were among the last people in the United States to get electricity, washing machines, running water, indoor toilets and telephones.

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