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Stassen Again

Stassen Again

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Author Steve Werle

Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 15, 2015)


A new investigation of the meteoric rise, lifetime of achievements, and unique persona of “boy wonder” and perennial candidate Harold E. Stassen.


A new investigation of the meteoric rise, lifetime of achievements, and unique persona of “boy wonder” and perennial candidate Harold E. Stassen.

In ten unsuccessful runs at the U.S. presidency, Harold E. Stassen became infamous as a perennial candidate. But his lifetime of achievements, now mostly forgotten, demonstrate his contributions to Minnesota’s political evolution, to international cooperation, and to world peace, as well as his importance to American history. It’s time to consider Stassen, again.

At the start of his career in the 1930s, extremism thrived in both state and national politics. Fear-mongering was an increasingly effective weapon in the battle for votes—and for international influence. Stassen’s leadership as the moderate “boy governor” of Minnesota, lauded by national media, revitalized the state’s Republican Party and helped pave the way for the national party’s return to power. In the middle of his third term as governor, this principled man enlisted in the navy, served in the Pacific, directed the liberation of Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, and helped write the charter for the United Nations. After the war, he served in Eisenhower’s cabinet, showing his energy and his ambition. Stassen argued successfully throughout his career for moderation, tolerance, and common sense— “the middle way”— at a time when America, and the world, was in woefully short supply of each.

Author information

Steve Werle is the author of An American Gothic: The Life & Times & Legacy of William Gates LeDuc.

Reviews and news

Advance Praise:

Stassen Again is a fascinating history lesson of the twentieth century and the political life of a man of truth, transparency, and even human frailty, whose guiding star was world peace and freedom.”
Al Quie, governor of Minnesota (1979–83)

“The three decades encompassing the Great Depression, World War II, and the onset of the Cold War forever changed America both domestically and internationally, and Stassen was a central figure in shaping that change. While acknowledging his flaws and failings, this book properly presents Stassen as principled, brilliant, and insightful and leaves no doubt that Stassen was a consequential American leader during this era.”
Tim Penny, president, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation / Democratic congressman from Minnesota’s First District (1983–95) / Independent Party candidate for governor (2002)

“Harold Stassen helped shape the direction of Minnesota politics in the first half of the twentieth century. Steve Werle provides a fresh look at this remarkable man.”
Tom O’Connell, professor emeritus, political studies, Metropolitan State University

In the Media:

MPR interview
KUMD’s MN Reads
WCCO Radio with John Hines
WCCO Radio with Esme Murphy
AM950 The Morning Grind (5/11/15 Hour 2 and 5/18 Hour 2)
KFAI's Write On! Radio (8/2/2016)
“This is What Else Stassen Should be Remembered for” On HNN
KSTP's Flashback Friday

Also of interest: MNopedia article on Harold Stassen by Steve Werle


  • 256 pages
  • 39 B&W photos and illustrations
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9780873519625

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