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Meet the Author
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Jerry Harrington | Thunder from the Prairie
@ Beaverdale Books
Author Jerry Harrington will be joined in conversation with Bonnie Campbell, to discuss his new book, Thunder from the Prairie. The book explores the life of Harold E. Hughes: a man of working-class origins who overcame severe alcoholism to become Iowa governor (1963–1969) and US Senator (1969–1974).
As a Democratic governor in traditionally Republican Iowa, Hughes, through his charismatic leadership, helped transform Iowa into a competitive two-party state while modernizing state government to make it more responsive to the contemporary needs of its citizens. Hughes was an outspoken leader against the Vietnam War and the American military as senator, and he exposed covert operations such as the illegal bombings of North Vietnam and Cambodia.
Relying upon his experience with alcoholism that nearly cost him his life, Senator Hughes spearheaded the creation of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which was founded on the principle that alcoholism is a disease, not a personal moral failure. Hughes’s moral compass was guided by his Christian beliefs, steering him to politics left of center. In this way, Hughes was distinctive among other openly Christian politicians of his day, whose theology manifested in conservative politics.
Jerry Harrington’s detailed Thunder from the Prairie is the first book-length treatment of Harold E. Hughes. The work fills major gaps in the history of Iowa and Midwestern political history, as well as the history of the “Long Sixties” (from the late 1950s to the early 1970s). Hughes was an impactful actor within the rise of postwar American liberalism, the conflict over the Vietnam War, and the civil rights movement, and led the effort to reform the Democratic Party to make it more open to women, minorities, and young people.
Jerry Harrington of Iowa City, Iowa, has spent a lifetime writing about Iowa history. A frequent contributor to Iowa History Journal (IHJ), he won the 2016 George Mills-Louise Noun Popular History Award from the Iowa State Historical Society for the IHJ series “Iowa Governors of Influence.” Harrington recently retired as marketing public relations manager for DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa. He has worked for advertising/public relations agencies in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Rochester, New York. He has also worked for newspapers in Spencer and Clear Lake, Iowa. He graduated from Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1977 with degrees in English and political science and received his master’s degree in history from the University of Iowa in 1981.
Bonnie J. Campbell is a former Iowa attorney general and a former official in the U.S. Department of Justice. From 1969 to 1974, she was a caseworker in the office of U.S. Senator Harold Hughes. Her work for Hughes brought her to Iowa, where from 1974 to 1981, she worked as a field office coordinator with U.S. Senator John Culver. In 1982, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drake University, then earned a Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School in 1984. On March 21, 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Campbell to head the U.S. Department of Justice’s newly created Office on Violence Against Women, a position she held until 2001. Campbell returned to private practice in Washington, D.C., and in 2003, she moved back to Iowa and opened a private legal practice. In 2007, she was appointed by Gov. Chet Culver to the state’s Board of Regents, serving through 2011.