GERALD W. HASLAM
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In Thought and Action:
The Enigmatic Life of S. I. Hayakawa
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 SIH book cover

Winner of the 2013—Award of Merit from American Association of State and Local History
Winner of the 2013—The Institute of General Semantics' Hawakawa Book Prize


     One of the most gripping images from the 1960s captures the slight figure of Dr. S. I. Hayakawa scrambling onto a sound truck parked in front of San Francisco State College amid campus unrest. Hayakawa had hoped to use this soapbox to address the assembled demonstrators, but instead he ended up ripping out speaker wires and halting an illegal campus demonstration—or denying first-amendment rights to the crowd.
     Who S. I. Hayakawa was depends on your perspective. This intimate and detailed biography draws on interviews with friends and family members, as well as Hayakawa's own papers and journals, to bring this controversial and fascinating figure to life. He was an enigma to both colleagues and adversaries, a Republican senator who consistently bucked his party's ideals with his support of the women's movement, abortion rights, and even Ronald Reagan's search for a female running mate. The son of Japanese immigrants, born and raised in Canada before moving to the United States, Hayakawa emerges here as a complex and complicated figure. His blend of heritage, politics, artistic inclination, and intellectual achievement makes him quintessentially American.



Reviewer comments!


"In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S. I. Hayakawa traces the fascinating life of an iconic American writer, teacher, politician and family man. In the process, authors Gerald W. Haslam and Janice E. Haslam tell us a lot about the culture wars of the 20th Century — and of American identity itself. The authors' many fans will be delighted by this definitive biography, as will students, scholars and teachers of ethnic studies, California history, and American politics."
Jonah Raskin, author of American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and the Making of the Beat Generation

"Gerald and Janice Haslam are the perfect writers for this complete and superbly researched biography of S.I. Hayakawa. Gerald Haslam was his student and his colleague, but also a journalist and scholar who could write candidly about a complex man. Hayakawa, the teacher, poet, scholar, writer, flamboyant college president and Senator from California, was always seeking more, not just for fame but for other, more personal reasons. Only the Haslams, with their unique perspectives, could know and tell this story."

Clark S. Sturges, author of Dr. Dave, A Profile of David E. Smith, M.D., founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics

Haslam (with his own wife as partner) was a good choice for biographer. . . . [An] absorbing study of a surprising, multifaceted life."

Kirkus

"Always a pioneer, Hayakawa showed consistent fearlessness in adopting an American identity despite racism, in marrying across the color line, in pursuing general semantics, and in opposing young rebels. This excellent biography uses copious papers and numerous interviews to emphasize Hayakawa's individuality and complexity. . . . Discussing both Hayakawa's virtues and his defects, the book is thorough, readable, and sympathetic."

W. J. Rorabaugh, Journal of American History

"Haslam and his wife, Janice, have done a brilliant job in this timely biography."

Jud Snyder, Community Voice

"An ingenious portrait."

Greg Robinson, Nichi Rei

"This intimate and detailed biography draws on interviews with friends and family members, as well as Hayakawa's own papers and journals, to bring this controversial and fascinating figure to life."

Rafu Shimpo, Japanese Daily Newspaper


456 pp. · 30 illustrations
$26.95 paperback · 978-0-8032-3764-3
$30.95 Canadian/£19.99 UK
E-book available · 978-0-8032-3976-0


To arrange lectures, readings, book-signings, or if you would like more information, then feel free to contact:
Gerald Haslam, P.O.Box 969, Penngrove, CA, 94951, USA
email: ghaslam@sonic.net