The Broken Road
From the daughter of one of America's most virulent segregationists, a memoir that reckons with her father George Wallace's legacy of hate--and illuminates her journey towards redemption. In the summer of 1963, Peggy Wallace Kennedy was a young girl watching her father stand in a schoolhouse door as he tried to block two African-American students from entering the University of Alabama. This man, former governor of Alabama and presidential candidate George Wallace, was notorious for his hateful rhetoric and his political stunts. But he was also a larger-than-life father to young Peggy, who was taught to smile, sit straight, and not speak up as her father took to the political stage. At the end of his life, Wallace came to renounce his views, although he could never attempt to fully repair the damage he caused. But Peggy, after her own political awakening, dedicated her life to spreading the new Wallace message-one of peace and compassion. In this powerful new memoir, Peggy looks back on the politics of her youth and attempts to reconcile her adored father with the man who coined the phrase “Segregation now. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.” Timely and timeless, The Broken Road speaks to change, atonement, activism, and racial reconciliation.

The Broken Road Details

TitleThe Broken Road
Author
ReleaseDec 3rd, 2019
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
ISBN-139781635573657
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

The Broken Road Review

  • Viral
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Bloomsbury for the ARC at BEA 2019.TLDR: this book is revisionist history designed to protect the Wallace legacy, don't read it.This book is Peggy Wallace Kennedy's memoir of growing up with and dealing with the legacy of her infamous father, Governor of Alabama and Independent candidate for President in 1968 and 1972, George Wallace. I was skeptical of what this book would entail; Wallace was not only directly responsible for an enormous amount of harm by being one of the most ardent Thanks to Bloomsbury for the ARC at BEA 2019.TLDR: this book is revisionist history designed to protect the Wallace legacy, don't read it.This book is Peggy Wallace Kennedy's memoir of growing up with and dealing with the legacy of her infamous father, Governor of Alabama and Independent candidate for President in 1968 and 1972, George Wallace. I was skeptical of what this book would entail; Wallace was not only directly responsible for an enormous amount of harm by being one of the most ardent defenders of Jim Crow in his time, but remains to this day a prominent symbol and figure among a reactionary far-right that harkens back to the glory days when white supremacy could be as open and direct as possible. I was worried this book would try to rehabilitate Wallace and try to diminish the harm he did, instead of honestly recognizing the suffering he caused and the damage he did and showing the work Peggy has done since to undo the deep moral wrong he committed by waging an unrelenting war to defend white supremacy.Unfortunately, this book is exactly that. While it occasionally notes the harm Wallace did, it consistently tries to rebrand Wallace as a race-neutral populist hero who didn't hate black people, but simply wanted to stop federal intervention and protect down on their luck working class people. I want to quote some passages, so as a heads up this was the paperback version and it's from a ARC I received at the end of May. It's possible that these quotes change by the final copy that comes out in December."If I had asked Daddy in the summer of 1958 if he was a racist, I'm not sure what he would have said. For many years, I felt obligated to defend Daddy's character and actions. I took the official Wallace line: Daddy was segregationist, but not a racist...What is the difference between a segregationist and a racist? A racist is defined as a person who believes that one race is superior to others. To be a segregationist means upholding a caste system - a system of apartheid....I know in our house when I was growing up the use of the N-word was strictly forbidden." - pages 53-54.I'm sorry Peggy, but no, there's no difference between personally hating black people and actively working to maintain a system of racial political, social, and economic separation and willingly using state violence through the police and the prisons and showing support for paramilitary organizations like the KKK to enforce that separation. It's the same damn thing. In fact, I'd much rather have a 1000 Wallaces who just make snide comments in private but never do anything about it, to 1 Wallace in office, actively resisting federal efforts to end legal segregation. Also, just because you don't say the N-word doesn't mean you aren't racist."[Daddy] was able to say: I am running as an independent [for POTUS in 1968] because there's not a dime's bit of difference between the Republican and Democratic parties and neither of them represents the values of the people I represent. Those people were overwhelmingly comprised of the white working class who felt the rest of the country didn't give a damn about them. Through Daddy's efforts, they now had a national party of their own. Their grandchildren would one day be voting for Trump" -page 152-153.The "values" he was representing where the values of "black people are our political, social and economic inferiors, and the infrastructure of the state should be used to uphold that racial caste system and keep black people our inferiors".This is from a passage of Governor Wallace talking to his family near the end of his life: "I was never against the blacks. I never, in any of my speeches, made slanderous or derogatory comments about the blacks. Folks like Hugo Black, Ervin, Lyndon Johnson, Stennis, Faubus, all of them were staunch segregationists. While I was a moderate on those issues, those men had already preached separation of the races. Johnson was a leader of the fight against the Civil Rights bill in the Senate....all those folks have been rehabilitated. I outlasted them. Maybe one day I'll be rehabilitated too. The issue I felt so strongly about was the issue of the growing federal bureaucracy and how it would devastate the state's sovereign power." pages 230-231.I mean, sure, the others were racist too? But good job misrepresenting Johnson's 1957 CRA fight, if you wanna know what actually went down, read Master of the Senate by Robert Caro, and while Johnson was almost certainly a racist, at least he passed and viciously fought for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Federal Housing Act of 1968, and established a massive slew of social welfare programs that overwhelmingly helped black people. Wallace actively opposed all of those things BECAUSE they helped black people. He had no issue with New Deal style jobs programs and government bureaucracy, as long as it excluded blacks and upheld white supremacy. Meanwhile, Peggy claims that she wants to change the Wallace family's legacy to be better, especially after her father retired from politics in the 80s. She does this by......doing basically nothing for the black people in Alabama, until the late 2010s when she does some photo ops with Congressman Lewis and some other people from the movement decades later? Where was Peggy while her fathers allies and supporters were creating the War on Crime and the War on Drugs in the 70s and 80s, beginning the mass incarceration crisis that is decimating black America to this day? Where was Peggy as her father's proteges were slashing welfare in the 90s by demonizing black people? Where has Peggy been as police brutality kills tens of thousands of young black people in this country, from Rodney King to Travyon Martin to Tamir Rice to Sandra Bland to so many goddamn others? Her brother George Wallace Jr., is still associated with the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization directly descended from the White Citizen's Council, yet she claims her family has grown and changed since the time of her father. She even tries to claim her father would have voted for Obama, LOL.Peggy seems interested in the same sense of negative peace which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace which is the presence of justice, as Dr. King famously said when he was incarcerated in Birmingham, Alabama, to her father's delight. All of our houses have their skeletons. I'm not perfect, and my family isn't perfect either. But my family, and basically everyone I've ever met and known, has never had the same platform George Wallace had to defend a brutal system of injustice. That needs to be reckoned with, an unfortunately, it isn't here.This book reeks of Peggy Wallace Kennedy trying desperately to rehabilitate her father's image, to cast him as a man of the people. Newsflash Peggy; during the 1960s, 40% of the people of Alabama were black. His rhetoric directly excluded them. So he wasn't a man of the people. He was a man of white supremacy. If he really felt bad at the end of his career about the damage he did, he would have fought back against the new Jim Crow that his contemporaries were building at the time. Visiting a few black churches and apologizing for being the face of the pro-segregation movement doesn't undo the amount of harm he made in his political career. This book is revisionist history. Shame on you, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, and shame on the people at Bloomsbury for publishing this garbage. Instead of giving even more voice and space to the side of the white supremacists, maybe publish a book telling the story of the black sharecroppers who were beaten by white Alabama cops for protesting their second class status? Maybe publish a book about the people who lived in fear of violence from the Klan for daring to register to vote? Maybe publish a book of the black children of Alabama who watched their governor go on national television to proclaim he would never stop defending a system that made them legally inferior to white people? This book isn't worth the paper it's printed on. May it rot in hell, like George "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" Wallace hopefully is.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    In November, 2008, soon after the Obama presidential victory, I read an article in - I think, "USA Today" - written by Peggy Wallace Kennedy. Wallace Kennedy was the daughter of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace and in the article she writes of visiting her parents' graves in Alabama earlier that fall. She was approached by a little old lady who told her how much she had loved Peggy's parents, and, as an aside, wouldn't George be horrified at the thought of a black man (I'm sure she might In November, 2008, soon after the Obama presidential victory, I read an article in - I think, "USA Today" - written by Peggy Wallace Kennedy. Wallace Kennedy was the daughter of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace and in the article she writes of visiting her parents' graves in Alabama earlier that fall. She was approached by a little old lady who told her how much she had loved Peggy's parents, and, as an aside, wouldn't George be horrified at the thought of a black man (I'm sure she might have used a more racially charged term than "black") running for president. Peggy gave the woman a hug but didn't ask if she'd seen Peggy's car, which had an "Obama for President" sticker on the fender. Peggy ended the column by writing she thought there was a good chance that if her father were still alive and voting, he'd have voted for Barack Obama. Oh, what a claim to make about one of the strongest segregationists ever elected to office. Now, 11 years after that fateful election, Peggy Wallace Kennedy has written a memoir which expands on that original article.Wallace Kennedy's book, "The Broken Road: George Wallace and a Daughter’s Journey to Reconciliation", is an interesting and well-written look at how Peggy grew up in the 1950's and 60's Alabama, with a father who wanted electoral success at any price and a mother devoted to raising her four children in times of economic hard times as her husband did not provide for the family when he was running perpetually for public office. He also ran around on his wife, and often had a side piece. Not a pleasant home to grow up in but Peggy loved both parents.Much of the book is devoted to George's political aspirations and public life. Peggy states that George had been a racial moderate with good relationships with African-Americans when he was a judge, but that changed when he lost his first race for Alabama governor in the early 1960's. He figured he had to out "n-r" his opponents, which he did in the next election. He won the election and his outlook towards blacks in Alabama changed completely. It was under his administration that state police challenged civil rights marches and attempts at desegregation. But then he was shot in 1972 in an assassination attempt when he ran for the Democratic nomination for presidentThe most interesting part of the book was Wallace Kennedy's evaluation of her father and his followers as potential Donald Trump supporters forty years later. And that somehow, her father's character changed and he began to reach out to the black community and appologise for his previous actions. I presume it's true because Peggy Wallace Kennedy writes it in her book, but I was left to wonder if the rest of her family - she had two sisters and a brother - also felt the same way. While she talks about her husband and two sons and her parents, she doesn't talk about her siblings. Maybe it's a question of not wanting to speak for them, but it did leave a curious void in the story.Peggy Wallace Kennedy's memoir is an excellent followup - 11 years later - to her newspaper article about her father and his beliefs.
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  • Don
    January 1, 1970
    Releases on December 3, 2019, I read an advanced reader copy from the publisher. Not what I expected, which I think was more introspection of Ms. Wallace Kennedy's own part in growing up as George Wallace's daughter and then her own work as a civil rights advocate. I don't have enough scholarly knowledge to judge if this is "revisionist" in nature but it must be affected by a daughter's lens. It is a little disjointed in terms of timeline so I needed to keep that in mind as I read. I am very Releases on December 3, 2019, I read an advanced reader copy from the publisher. Not what I expected, which I think was more introspection of Ms. Wallace Kennedy's own part in growing up as George Wallace's daughter and then her own work as a civil rights advocate. I don't have enough scholarly knowledge to judge if this is "revisionist" in nature but it must be affected by a daughter's lens. It is a little disjointed in terms of timeline so I needed to keep that in mind as I read. I am very tired of reading the old platitude or excuse of the south being "complicated" as is stated several times in the first half of the book. Racism, compromising belief systems for power, etc. is not "complicated." Calling racism "segregation-ism" is not complicated. The results are still racist. As I was reading the early days of Wallace's political ambitions and campaigns, I keep thinking it mirrors Trump's political ambitions and campaigns, as does the rhetoric; Wallace Kennedy points that out.
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  • Donna Davis
    January 1, 1970
    “I was perhaps Daddy’s most important legacy of all.” Thanks go to Bloomsbury and Net Galley for the review copy, which I read free and early in exchange for this honest review. I was a child during the Civil Rights era, and although I didn’t live in the American South, I recall news footage of Kennedy’s father, George Wallace, the man that the author rightly attributes as a harbinger of the Trump movement. Instead of “Make America Great Again,” Wallace urged his constituents—including the Klan, “I was perhaps Daddy’s most important legacy of all.” Thanks go to Bloomsbury and Net Galley for the review copy, which I read free and early in exchange for this honest review. I was a child during the Civil Rights era, and although I didn’t live in the American South, I recall news footage of Kennedy’s father, George Wallace, the man that the author rightly attributes as a harbinger of the Trump movement. Instead of “Make America Great Again,” Wallace urged his constituents—including the Klan, whom he openly welcomed to his campaign—to “Stand Up for America.” When the federal government signaled that it would enforce the segregation ban, Wallace made headlines around the world by literally standing in the door of the schoolhouse in order to turn the first Black student away from a public school in Alabama. My own father was a redneck of the first order, but even he distanced himself from this extremist. Wallace ran for U.S. president but was defeated; upon returning to the governor’s mansion, he was shot and paralyzed from the waist down. By that time Malcolm X was dead and could not have told us that this was a case of chickens coming home to roost, and yet it may well have been. Although the book’s summary suggests that Kennedy is vastly different from her father politically, her prose indicates that her true, bitterest grievances all center on his philandering betrayal of her sainted mother and his failure to be a strong provider and dedicated family man. She tells us that even in the 1960s, she felt his racist rhetoric was wrong, and so I waited for what I thought must surely come next: the moment she either confronted him or simply moved out of the house to another part of the country to restart her life in saner surroundings. None of this happened, as it turns out. She stayed in the governor’s mansion, thrilled by the relative affluence and privilege she regarded as her due following a tumultuous, sometimes impoverished childhood. The title is taken from a Hemingway quote, and in her own story designated the location of her maternal grandparents, whose simple, homespun nurturance provided relief to her mother and herself when her father went on the road politicking and didn’t send money home for them to live off of. At the beginning of the book she uses the expression often enough to beat it to death, but once her father becomes governor she rarely speaks of these kind, gentle people. Toward the end, she parenthetically notes that her grandmother died at some point back in the middle of the book. It’s interesting that although Lurleen Wallace was elected governor in order to circumvent what was at the time a state law against successive terms for her husband, the author says nothing at all about her mother’s civil rights policies. We see that she won the governorship in a landslide and was loved by all, and yet if her policies diverged much from George’s, that would have created screaming headlines. It’s just one of the many inconsistencies within this memoir. The last several chapters are devoted to her father’s redemption politically, or so she asserts. He never hated African-Americans, she tells us, but only did and said those things in order to gain office. Later in life, he asked a handful of Civil Rights leaders for forgiveness and spoke in Black churches about his error. She follows this up by pointing to the large numbers of Black voters that returned him to the Capitol. I find myself wondering a lot of things, and foremost among them is why anyone would consider a candidate that makes the cold-blooded decision to promote violent racism for the sake of gaining office to be morally superior to one holding the genuine belief in the inferiority of other races and ethnicities. Wallace, she tells us, didn’t sign onto the Klan’s program because of his convictions, but because of what they could do for him. And while the parallels she draws with Nixon are apt ones, the rationalization of her late father’s destructive, ethically bankrupt lifetime is chilling in its own way, but she underplays this aspect of his career. Her “daddy” lived long enough to appoint her 26-year-old attorney husband to the state bench. The second star here is reluctantly provided because she does some very nice things at the outset with regard to her description of time and place in the life of poor white folks in mid-twentieth century rural Alabama. If you’re looking for a silver lining to this wretched work, there it is. It’s all I can find. I would place this book in the child-revenge category along with Christina Crawford, Patti (Reagan) Davis, and Carrie Fisher. Read it if you want to wallow, but when you’re finished, you will likely want to shower and gargle.
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  • Maria-Anne
    January 1, 1970
    This book was an education for me. Born the same year as Peggy I fell a connection in historical data. You often wonder about the children of politicians and how they feel about what is going on. Peggy doesn't sugar coat her life or over dramatizes it but basically tells about her feelings. The conflicting emotions and trying to understand her father . Through her we got a bit better understanding what kind of man George Wallace was. Half a century of history in Alabama through the eyes of a This book was an education for me. Born the same year as Peggy I fell a connection in historical data. You often wonder about the children of politicians and how they feel about what is going on. Peggy doesn't sugar coat her life or over dramatizes it but basically tells about her feelings. The conflicting emotions and trying to understand her father . Through her we got a bit better understanding what kind of man George Wallace was. Half a century of history in Alabama through the eyes of a child and the woman she has become. The issues with segregation. The attitude of people (even become violent) when they feel their rights have been infringed on. Politicians who will say whatever they feel is needed in order to get votes even when it is not what they original stood for. Does this all seem to be a bit familiar with 2019. The players have changed. The races involved have changed but in a lot of ways history keeps repeating itself in one form or another. I'm grateful to Peggy Wallace Kennedy that she shared these facts of her life and her knowledge in this book .
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to meet Peggy Wallace Kennedy in Montgomery recently at a short talk regarding this book that she and her husband, Justice Kennedy, gave at Read Herring bookstore. She spoke straight from the heart, and that is the way this book reads. I still don't really feel I understand her father, a man whose career as a segregationist was book-ended by periods of surprisingly progressive and tolerant thinking. He emerges in the book as a very remote father and husband, and even now it is I was lucky enough to meet Peggy Wallace Kennedy in Montgomery recently at a short talk regarding this book that she and her husband, Justice Kennedy, gave at Read Herring bookstore. She spoke straight from the heart, and that is the way this book reads. I still don't really feel I understand her father, a man whose career as a segregationist was book-ended by periods of surprisingly progressive and tolerant thinking. He emerges in the book as a very remote father and husband, and even now it is hard to say what, beyond ambition, drove him. It is clear that he was remarkably selfish: I'm still gobsmacked about how people like him can inspire such love and devotion from voters. On the other hand, this book gave me a warm sense of connection to Kennedy's mother, Lurleen, who seems to have had a magnificent heart. And it is a fascinating look, again, at a key period in American history, from a very unusual perspective. I applaud Kennedy for her bravery in exposing her own history, for her insight into the MAGA movement and its origins, and for her steadfast fight to do the right thing in her own life. It was a joy to meet her and to read her book.
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  • Tom Schulte
    January 1, 1970
    [I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]This memoir by George Wallace's daughter covers an arc from an unaware child to an adult woman coming to grip a segregationist family legacy remembered shaped by these six words: "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" and other lines attributed to Wallace (some worse) recalled here. The picture I get is over that man's long life his views evolved while his views [I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]This memoir by George Wallace's daughter covers an arc from an unaware child to an adult woman coming to grip a segregationist family legacy remembered shaped by these six words: "Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!" and other lines attributed to Wallace (some worse) recalled here. The picture I get is over that man's long life his views evolved while his views appeared actually irrelevant. I had the feeling he would have ascribed any viewpoint from segregationist to integrationist if it would have got him to be governor. This author's life is overtly tied to the right wing wise in American politics from a witness to a similar upswell a half century ago. She is a lucid and valuable primary source on the American political mind.
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  • Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir
    January 1, 1970
    George Wallace, the four-time governor of Alabama, was a controversial figure by any reckoning. His daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, seeks to smooth some of his edges for posterity’s sake, and for our finer understanding of the man, his policies and his actions.The son of a raging, alcoholic father, Wallace rose to prominence in government by following his own gut and utilizing his penchant for folksy chatter underpinned by a will to achieve power. Failing to win the governorship his first time George Wallace, the four-time governor of Alabama, was a controversial figure by any reckoning. His daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, seeks to smooth some of his edges for posterity’s sake, and for our finer understanding of the man, his policies and his actions.The son of a raging, alcoholic father, Wallace rose to prominence in government by following his own gut and utilizing his penchant for folksy chatter underpinned by a will to achieve power. Failing to win the governorship his first time out, he took up the banner of hardcore racial segregation to win the next time, in 1962. A man who Peggy characterizes as heavily motivated by praise, Wallace constantly sought admiration, both from his voter base of white southern men and from women other than his wife, Lurleen.Yet Lurleen was so devoted to him (and fearful of the poverty in which he sometimes left her and the children) that to help him get into the governor’s mansion when the law prevented him from serving successive terms, she put herself up for the job. Wallace remarkably won Alabama’s leadership again and again, even after being rippled by an assassin’s bullet while campaigning for the US presidency. While he held sway, black citizens of Alabama were held back, forced down and, in many cases, killed for speaking out.All this and more is recounted by his daughter, who, in 2009, crossed the storied bridge in Selma holding the hand of African American Congressman John Lewis, a fellow Alabamian and long-time civil rights activist. Peggy makes the case that her father had a period of true repentance in later life, and often spoke of it to her and her husband, co-author Justice H. Mark Kennedy, who took notes of much of what he said. These indicate that Wallace, the man who famously declared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” thought himself a moderate regarding segregation, and felt his political opportunism was little different from that of Martin Luther King. Peggy makes the case in Wallace’s defense that his being a segregationist did not make him a racist.Among efforts at presenting a balanced view, Peggy draws a brief, unflattering parallel between her father’s strategies and those of Donald Trump. She was prompted to gather this personal history by her sons’ questions about their grandfather, who she recalls as a fun-loving and generous parent, though frequently absent.Doubtless it was painful for Peggy to delve deeply into her own past, as someone whose moral views from early adolescence contrasted with the public policies of her famous father. She still suffers trauma from those conflicted years. Readers will find out more about George Wallace than they ever could have learned otherwise, and will be transported back to the heat, hatred, fear and some notable heroics of the early civil rights era. The judgment on Alabama’s fiery leader cannot rest solely on one source, but by creating her perspective, Peggy Wallace Kennedy offers a reasonable opening for re-examination.Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting look inside the family that benefitted most from George Wallace’s racist rhetoric. Rhetoric that lit the dynamite in the church that killed four African-American girls: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise McNair. Rhetoric that unleashed fire hoses and dogs on innocent people. Rhetoric that resulted in Jimmie Lee Jackson being beaten to death by Alabama state troopers. Rhetoric that drove a bullet through the head of civil rights activist, Viola An interesting look inside the family that benefitted most from George Wallace’s racist rhetoric. Rhetoric that lit the dynamite in the church that killed four African-American girls: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise McNair. Rhetoric that unleashed fire hoses and dogs on innocent people. Rhetoric that resulted in Jimmie Lee Jackson being beaten to death by Alabama state troopers. Rhetoric that drove a bullet through the head of civil rights activist, Viola Liuzzo. How many innocent people died as a result of George Wallace’s ambition? We will never know.In this memoir, his daughter Peggy Wallace Kennedy, doesn’t paint him in a sympathetic light. Instead, she exposes his flaws as a father and a husband. George Wallace was a man who neglected his wife and children in pursuit of power. A man who condoned violence, hatred, and murder to further his political career. Kennedy claims Wallace was a moderate before losing his first race for governor. There is general consensus that Wallace employed segregationist rhetoric to win future elections. Throughout the book, Kennedy wonders if her father really was a segregationist or if he adopted the ideology to manipulate the white working-class into voting for him. I’m not sure that it really matters. Is condoning violence against marginalized people for political ambition superior to condoning violence to uphold racist ideology?At the end of his life, Wallace expressed regret and asked the black community for forgiveness. Did he really regret the pain and suffering he caused, or did he only regret the stain on his legacy? He lived long enough to see the tide of progress cast him in an unfavorable light. Kennedy makes it clear that George Wallace was a man who only cared about himself and his image, but she wants to believe her father grew and became a better person in his later years. We want to believe the lies we tell ourselves about the people we love. Kennedy asserts that her dad’s anything-to-win mentality is what led him down the path of hate and racism. She hesitates to hold him responsible for his own words and actions. She blames his words on racist speechwriter, Asa Carter. George Wallace was in control of his image and his speeches. He needs to be held accountable for his words and actions.I would have liked her to reflect more on the privileges her family gained at the expense of all the families who were hurt by her father’s policies. She mentions her father appointed her husband to a position, but she doesn’t spend much time making the connection between the privileges she gained (and continues to enjoy) through the pain of others. Overall, I would recommend if you are interested in civil rights history.
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  • Mary Barrow
    January 1, 1970
    Peggy Wallace Kennedy’s memoir, 'The Broken Road',transcends family loyalty by providing truth and moral guidelines for her sons, for her grandchildren and for the archives of American history. This takes guts.When a teenager rebels against parents we stand back and make room for his/her mistakes. However, when a much younger child instinctively knows a father is wrong in both his behavior and in his attitudes there is often no way to rebel, or to voice those fundamental disagreements. For some Peggy Wallace Kennedy’s memoir, 'The Broken Road', transcends family loyalty by providing truth and moral guidelines for her sons, for her grandchildren and for the archives of American history. This takes guts.When a teenager rebels against parents we stand back and make room for his/her mistakes. However, when a much younger child instinctively knows a father is wrong in both his behavior and in his attitudes there is often no way to rebel, or to voice those fundamental disagreements. For some of these children it becomes a task of a lifetime to not only script a different roadmap for oneself but to go against a prevailing (and misguided) belief that family loyalty means keeping silent.Peggy Wallace knew early and instinctively that her father, George Wallace, was wrong about segregation, wrong in his beliefs about the structure of society and wrong in his actions as governor of Alabama. When she reached an age to overcome her fears and speak, it wasn’t as a rebellious teenager lashing out, but as a person dedicated to the rights of all people; a daughter burdened at an early age with rejecting the very substance of a powerful father; a daughter with a need – obligation - to give voice to her objections; a daughter who was and is willing to bear the shunning by friends and family who would judge her for not remaining ‘loyal’ (silent) about her family. Such a judgement is unfair.This is not a vindictive ‘tell all’ memoir by a disgruntled daughter. Peggy Wallace carefully illustrates her father’s personality and gives enough insight into his own background for the reader to understand the connections to the choices he made. Further, she provides a clear picture of much of what happened during the Civil Rights Movement. We need personal windows into history. The actions of our politicians make no sense without the fabric of their lives. George Wallace was merciless and destructive. He was also a loving father and kind. He was complicated. We may or may not believe that he ultimately changed for the better, but it doesn’t matter.What matters in this book is that Peggy Wallace Kennedy has given her family and all Americans a portrait of a troubled time and a troubled man who had a grave impact on all of our lives. This is vital to understanding both the past and the present. We should all be thankful for the book.
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  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    Minor Spoilers-3.5/5‘The lesson of the broken road is one of coming to terms with the past, not for the sake of forgetting or forgiving, but rather for the truth.’-Peggy Wallace Kennedy.Wallace immediately enthralls readers by courageously recounting her visit to Selma on the anniversary of the historic march that played a crucial role during the 1960s civil rights movement. This sets the tone for the book-she loved her father but disapproved of his political mongering to gain power in American Minor Spoilers-3.5/5‘The lesson of the broken road is one of coming to terms with the past, not for the sake of forgetting or forgiving, but rather for the truth.’-Peggy Wallace Kennedy.Wallace immediately enthralls readers by courageously recounting her visit to Selma on the anniversary of the historic march that played a crucial role during the 1960s civil rights movement. This sets the tone for the book-she loved her father but disapproved of his political mongering to gain power in American government. It’s all here; behind the scenes excerpts describing the University “stand in”, Wallace’s assassination attempt and aftermath, and what things were really like before the clan’s made it to the Governor’s mansion. A forewarning: PWK isn’t shy about collating the past with the present. She virulently criticizes the Iraq war and bashes the current Trump administration.‘Make America Great Again is not a plan. It is an insinuation that America is not good enough to be proud of. It is a pledge of allegiance to discrimination. It makes people feel their way of life is under assault, and their deepest values are being trampled, no matter how misguided, hurtful, or destructive those notions are. It makes hating right.’The ‘Broken Road’ was gripping and heartwarming, but every once in a while Peggy served up a conceited narrative that left the historical context unsettled. She invisions a tale of reparation, but towards the end, it sounded like she was one of the lead crusaders in the civil rights movement. Thank you NetGalley for the the free ebook!
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  • Briayna Cuffie
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this as an eARC via NetGalley in partnership with the publisher, for a fair and unbiased review.—————————————————————————-For a memoir with reconciliation in the title, I expected more....teeth. I didn’t expect Peggy to write some scathing reprimand of her father, but I definitely expected more intensity. The tome of the book is quite conversational. Though I’ve never heard her voice, I felt as though I was reading it in her voice. I also appreciate that she included Disclaimer: I received this as an eARC via NetGalley in partnership with the publisher, for a fair and unbiased review.—————————————————————————-For a memoir with reconciliation in the title, I expected more....teeth. I didn’t expect Peggy to write some scathing reprimand of her father, but I definitely expected more intensity. The tome of the book is quite conversational. Though I’ve never heard her voice, I felt as though I was reading it in her voice. I also appreciate that she included family photos sparingly.Though she talks about how he was a trash husband and father, it is truly his manipulative ways, greed for power, indifference to racism, and ability to create a cult following (that in many ways is the original Trump campaign method) that truly shines. It starts with him in an inappropriate relationship (age) with her mother and just seems to go downhill from there. In reading, I felt I learned more about her mother’s policies and initiatives during her time as governor (though she was just an extended arm of him) than I did his, because he just wanted power and to be able to “schmooze” with a title. He lived to campaign and be in leadership, but not to actually lead.I feel as though Peggy really aimed to humanize her father; she tried to paint him as a complex man who was just a product of his circumstances. But it was only after becoming confined to a wheelchair later in life and dwindling political clout that he decided to think about what he could do to change his circumstances and himself.
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  • Rian Nejar
    January 1, 1970
    The complex life of a First Daughter of AlabamaMarketing and editorial reviews notwithstanding, this is no searing memoir, nor is it "timeless and timely." It is, quite simply, the story of a girl who survived a life of tumultuous events of her time with grace and good fortune. An all-American daughter describes her eventful life with a highly ambitious, racist, narcissistic, wheeler-dealer of a politician father of the deep south. In a life that included a missing father who became a four-term The complex life of a First Daughter of AlabamaMarketing and editorial reviews notwithstanding, this is no searing memoir, nor is it "timeless and timely." It is, quite simply, the story of a girl who survived a life of tumultuous events of her time with grace and good fortune. An all-American daughter describes her eventful life with a highly ambitious, racist, narcissistic, wheeler-dealer of a politician father of the deep south. In a life that included a missing father who became a four-term governor, the early death of her tough and pragmatic mother who also served for fifteen months as governor of Alabama, two step-mothers, and an assassination attempt on her father, Peggy Wallace carved out an identity for herself that rebelled against the bigotry and demagoguery of her father. She came to redefine the George Wallace legacy of “Segregation now, Segregation tomorrow, Segregation forever” into one of understanding, compassion, and humility. In this memoir, she describes her journey from the governor's mansion to a stable household of her own where she raised children Americans can be proud of. Professionally edited, the book is an easy read, albeit somewhat boring for one that deals with a critical - the dawn of Civil Rights - period in American history. It is informative and humanizes George Wallace through the love of a daughter.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    When I was majoring in communications back in the day, working in the political realm wasn’t even on my radar. Yet, that’s where most of my career has been. Alabama politics, in particular, has a storied and often distressing history. Thankfully, we are not all the same and it was an honor to visit with someone intimately affected by Alabama’s political history and the people behind the political curtain - a daughter of two governors: her father and her mother. Peggy Wallace Kennedy has written When I was majoring in communications back in the day, working in the political realm wasn’t even on my radar. Yet, that’s where most of my career has been. Alabama politics, in particular, has a storied and often distressing history. Thankfully, we are not all the same and it was an honor to visit with someone intimately affected by Alabama’s political history and the people behind the political curtain - a daughter of two governors: her father and her mother. Peggy Wallace Kennedy has written a straightforward and heartfelt memoir of her family’s legacy. Hers is an admirable journey. She said to me: “I hope you’ve had a broken road. It’s actually a good thing.” It can lead to reconciliation.I'd just finished "The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics" by Dan T. Carter (Which Kennedy references and I highly recommend). Carter's book took an unflinching approapach to Lurleen Wallace's cancer diagnosis and I would have liked to have read more from Kennedy's perspective. She discusses it, but not in depth. However, some topics may just be too personal to share.
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  • Cleveland Thornton
    January 1, 1970
    I write to comment on the post about this book being revisionist history. It is not and the commentator who made that statement did not read the book or knows little of the history of that period. I did live in Alabama during that time and I do know Peggy Wallace Kennedy and I did know George Wallace (when I was a young man). I did work on civil rights cases in Alabama during that time and after. I was a young man in high school through law school in Alabama during all these times recounted by I write to comment on the post about this book being revisionist history. It is not and the commentator who made that statement did not read the book or knows little of the history of that period. I did live in Alabama during that time and I do know Peggy Wallace Kennedy and I did know George Wallace (when I was a young man). I did work on civil rights cases in Alabama during that time and after. I was a young man in high school through law school in Alabama during all these times recounted by Ms. Kennedy.Ms. Kennedy is certainly not making excuses for her farther and, indeed, makes clear that her father's actions and policies were reprehensible, as they surely were. George Wallace spent his last years regretting and asking for forgiveness for all his actions while governor and as a politician on the national stage.Wallace's deplorable legacy continues with the current administration and the white supremacist and racest that Trump has appointed to high government positions and to the federal courts.
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  • J.A. McNeil
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fast, easy and interesting read to someone who grew up with relatives in the south who did NOT vote against segregation. From Wallace’s ascent in the racially charged environment of the South in the 50’s, I can see how Trump supporters are swayed into believing he’s the next son of God. Wallace and Trump would have definitely had a good laugh as to how they managed to get their rallies to grow in size while inciting racial and antisemitic violence among their bases. It takes courage This was a fast, easy and interesting read to someone who grew up with relatives in the south who did NOT vote against segregation. From Wallace’s ascent in the racially charged environment of the South in the 50’s, I can see how Trump supporters are swayed into believing he’s the next son of God. Wallace and Trump would have definitely had a good laugh as to how they managed to get their rallies to grow in size while inciting racial and antisemitic violence among their bases. It takes courage to admit your personal faults along side with your family’s. Not all will be able to agree with the author’s version of history. Hopefully, Ms. Wallace’s effort to be the better part of her father’s legacy will inspire others from families like hers to do the same.
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  • Lily
    January 1, 1970
    It was good to read that George Wallace basically repented of his acts and abuse of power that he used during the time of his governorship of Alabama. Some people say it was because of the assassination attempt on his life that brought things into proper perspective. Whatever the cause of those years of upheaval, it wasn't a good time for the underprivileged and underrepresented in his state. It seems that he had good intentions in the beginning but then bowed to the political maneuvering that It was good to read that George Wallace basically repented of his acts and abuse of power that he used during the time of his governorship of Alabama. Some people say it was because of the assassination attempt on his life that brought things into proper perspective. Whatever the cause of those years of upheaval, it wasn't a good time for the underprivileged and underrepresented in his state. It seems that he had good intentions in the beginning but then bowed to the political maneuvering that would guarantee his elections. He made some amends during his final years as governor. I didn't remember that his wife had been governor for a while, too.
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  • Carol Dimitriou
    January 1, 1970
    This book tells the story of former Governor George Wallace , written by his daughter, Peggy. It shows the effects that his desire for power had on his family, as well as the public. It compares the divisiveness of those times to today's situation with President Donald Trump. Both men used the discontent of many of the people to further their ambition for power. It is well written, and very interesting.I won this book in a GOODREADS giveaway, and I thank both Goodreads and Bloomsbury for giving This book tells the story of former Governor George Wallace , written by his daughter, Peggy. It shows the effects that his desire for power had on his family, as well as the public. It compares the divisiveness of those times to today's situation with President Donald Trump. Both men used the discontent of many of the people to further their ambition for power. It is well written, and very interesting.I won this book in a GOODREADS giveaway, and I thank both Goodreads and Bloomsbury for giving me the chance to read it.
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  • Cara
    January 1, 1970
    One way to build racial dexterity as white people is learning about the history of race in America. This memoire by the daughter of infamous segregationist, George Wallace, is an eye opener about nationalism and racism that explains the political state today. It’s also an exploration of politics, ambition and where love functions in those realms all under the weight of extreme racism.
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  • Beau Teague
    January 1, 1970
    Disjointed, erratic, and not nearly as redemptive as she would like it to be. There is SO MUCH more that could have been mined from her experience. Disappointing. The good: I learned a lot about a bad guy I was too young to be aware of. History! Repeating!
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  • Betty Downs
    January 1, 1970
    A must read for history buffs!! It tells the story of what it was like growing up as George Wallace's child and his journey as a politician. I was amazed about how much I didn't know about a man that was considered a racist.
  • Jan Daulton
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this book. I grew up in Alabama during this time. I dont remember a lot about George Wallace, and this book brought back memories. I cannot imagine what it was like to grow up with GW as your Dad. Peggy tells a story well, and I enjoyed her honesty. This is a good read.
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  • Trick Wiley
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't take this book as offered,I changed my mind! Thank you so much but wanted to let you know why I didn't do a review!
  • Kay Mcleer
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great memoir and I thank Ms Kennedy for writing it. It really makes you think, she was able to create a wonderful story that kept people invested.
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book written by a daughter who loved her dad, with the hopes that history will remember him in a different way. Hmmmm.
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