A Good Man (Mark Shriver)

In the 24-hour media cycle and the era of 24-month presidential campaigns, this story of a politician of a different age was a refreshing tale of what politics should be about. Mark Shriver tells the story of his father, Sargent Shriver, both the highs and lows. It is at times a heartwarming story of love and loss, and at other times a story of a driven man whose example gives one hope for the recovery of Shriver’s brand of politics in America.

Sargent Shriver was a man of great determination: “Don’t worry about it,” he said, “Just keep working hard. Something good will happen. If you try hard and stay focused, it always does.” (110) Coupled with this pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps focus is a story of a deep and rich Catholic faith that impelled Shriver to promote the dignity of all human life. Whether it was his and his wife’s efforts to promote the cause of the disabled, or his founding of the Peace Corps, or his efforts to improve race relations in the mid-1960s, Shriver’s foundational beliefs clearly guided his life’s work.

Sargent Shriver’s life shows us the joy and goodness that we all strive for. And despite all his achievements, he knew he could not do it alone: “He knew he couldn’t do it alone–that’s why he went to Mass every day, to ask for help, guidance, and support.” (232) Sargent Shriver was, as the title says, a “good man,” but his goodness flowed from a deep wellspring of faith and love. “Faith was a very practical, direction-giving thing for Dad.” (249)

In the end, this book is a treasure for those who enjoy reading biographies of great Americans. It was a treat to read and I highly recommend it to you.

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