Sanity Begins at Home

To begin on a positive note: anyone who shuddered at the prospect of a barely thirty-something Edward Kennedy in the U.S. Senate cannot be wholly without redeeming social value. The year was 1962, and H. Stuart Hughes, grandson of the 1916 Republican presidential nominee of the same surname and devotee of a SANE foreign policy, offered himself to the voters of Massachusetts as an alternative to an additional dose of Kennedy liberalism. Hughes, of course, lost by an embarrassingly wide margin. All of this and more is chronicled in a memoir that contains embarrassments apolitical.

Henry Adams this author is not. Unlike Adams', Hughes' grandfather lost his bid for the presidency. Unlike Adams, Hughes did dirty his hands by seeking elective office on his own. And unlike Adams, Hughes has written a memoir that tells us more than we need to know about the prolonged (and repressed) sexual adolescence of his "unspent" youth. Parental "scruples" regarding sexual matters have apparently "haunted" not only his childhood, but his adulthood as well. From his mother Hughes learned two lessons: avoid playing with one's "precious organs" and the "wicked prosper, so why try." A convert to atheism and socialism at the hardly spent age of 16, Hughes at least had the good sense not to try overly hard to make the world over into his unrepressed adolescent vision of the good society.


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