Self-Destruction: The rise, fall, and redemption of U.S. Senator Daniel B. Brewster (Hardcover)
Hollywood-handsome Daniel B. Brewster had it all: inherited wealth, stellar education, combat Marine, prestigious horse farm, gorgeous and talented wife, and two young sons -- even a seat in the United States Senate. He was called "the Golden Boy of Maryland Politics." In 1964, as a stand-in for Lyndon Johnson in Maryland's Democratic Presidential Primary, Brewster defeated the segregationist George C. Wallace, a victory that was credited with clearing the way for congressional passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
But then, debilitated by alcoholism, Brewster self-destructed. He lost it all -- a breathtaking descent into divorce, electoral defeat, a bribery scandal, financial collapse, and personal shame.
As a 20-year-old Marine lieutenant on Okinawa, Brewster fought in some the most savage combat of World War II. During the three-month siege, he was wounded seven times, including by one bullet that tore through his helmet. He was later decorated for valor. He returned from war bursting with ambition. He earned his law degree and quickly rose in politics: state legislature, Congress, and the Senate. He won his first 12 elections, almost always as the leading vote-getter. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer both got their start in Brewster's Senate office. He became friends with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.
But Brewster's long marriage to Carol de Havenon collapsed after he reunited with Anne Bullitt, the ambassador's daughter who had jilted him 24 years before. Not long after their marriage, however, Brewster's drinking and other political missteps led to his 1968 election loss to Republican Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., a lifelong friend. After fleeing to Ireland, Brewster was hospitalized for alcoholism, only to learn that a once loyal aide had accused him of accepting bribes. It was rock bottom.
But Dan Brewster had a third act. He survived his six-year legal ordeal, quit drinking, and married Judy Aarsand, whom he had met in rehab. He became a doting father to their three children. Gradually, he reclaimed his dignity, helped other recovering alcoholics, joined hospital boards, and quietly found equilibrium and happiness in a life filled with enormous highs and lows.