Books: Pictures at an Inhibition

A POLITICAL EDUCATION

by HARRY McPHERSON

467 pages. Atlantic-Little, Brown. $10.95.

In Washington, where most political memoirists write in the blood of their foes, Harry McPherson is a kind of vegetarian. A Texas liberal who served on both Lyndon Johnson's Senate and White House staffs, McPherson believes in binding wounds, not opening them. He has a refreshing affection for the processes of government and the fallibilities of the powerful. His sketches and assessments of Washington politicians are unrivaled.

For example, McPherson agrees with the conventional wisdom that Hubert Humphrey is warm, open, self-amused, bursting with affirmation of life. But he also sees Humphrey as...

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