Thunder From the Prairie: The Life of Harold Hughes

Jerry Harrington, the author of Thunder from the Prairie: The Life of Harold Hughes, will speak at the Ida Grove Public Library at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7.

A native of Ida Grove, Harold Hughes overcame severe alcoholism to become governor of Iowa from 1963 to 1968 and Iowa’s US senator from 1969 to 1974. He then stunned the political world by leaving office to enter the lay ministry and counsel alcoholics and drug addicts.

Hughes was known as a forceful, charismatic leader who renovated Iowa government during his time in Des Moines. The Iowa community college system was created during his administration. Hughes led a bipartisan effort to reorganize and equalize primary and secondary school funding and to modernize Iowa social services and revenue systems.

As senator, Hughes led the first national effort to aid alcoholics. He was also a national leader against the Vietnam War and American military deception. His office uncovered the secret bombing of North Vietnam in 1972.

More importantly, Hughes was a courageous leader unafraid to face difficult and controversial issues. Gifted with rugged good looks and a deep bass voice, his compelling intensity during speeches often brought people to tears when he talked of the downtrodden.

“Harold Hughes’ life story is one of ardent commitment to justice, compassion and sympathy for the underdog,” says Harrington. “I wrote this book to bring his vast accomplishments to the present day.”

Harrington will have copies of his book for sale and signing at the library.