The Boston Globe has a nice piece today on Fred Thompson’s formative years in Lawrenceburg. Seems that his path toward the presidency began inauspiciously with his girlfriend becoming a teenage mother, which resulted in Thompson marrying into a family and becoming influenced by his wife’s grandfather, a Republican attorney known to his family as “Pap.” Writer Michael Kranish describes how the older man shaped Thompson: “The Lindsey household became an intellectual and political feast for Thompson. Pap engaged Thompson in conversations about the nation’s state of affairs, with Pap defending the positions of the Eisenhower administration. One day, Pap gave Thompson a book: ‘The Story of My Life,’ by Clarence Darrow.”
Can you imagine a Republican in our time handing out a book about evolution’s biggest foe?
Kranish continues: “Darrow was the foremost trial lawyer of the day, and his passion – and dramatic courtroom flair – deeply impressed Thompson. Influenced both by the book and the fact that Pap was a lawyer, Thompson suddenly knew what he would do: He would try to emulate Darrow’s career, if not his strict defense of evolutionary theory.”
Kranish does a good job evoking Lawrenceburg without pulling from the Storehouse of Tired Phrases that so many writers use in describing Southern towns: sleepy little town, et cetera, et cetera.