Aiken Books

New! From the Center for Research on Vermont


The Essential Aiken: A Life in Public Service
Compiled and Edited by
Samuel B. Hand and Stephen C. Terry

The book is available for purchase through the UVM Bookstore, 802-656-3031 and at many local bookstores throughout Vermont.

In these days of stark political partisanship, George Aiken’s common sense and balanced approach to legislative problem solving is woefully in short supply. The new collection of Aiken’s writings and speeches, The Essential Aiken: A Life in Public Service, brings forward the clear-thinking and compassionate voice of Vermont’s legendary Governor and Senator, and does so with surprising contemporary relevance.

A Landmark Work

Here for the first time George Aiken’s landmark writings and speeches are compiled, giving shape and depth to his reputation as the foremost Progressive Republican of his generation.

What is a Progressive Republican?

For George Aiken, former Vermont Governor and 34-year U.S. Senator, being a Progressive Republican meant attending to the social needs of his constituents while also addressing the requirements of economic development. Although measured and thoughtful in all of his political relations, he never hesitated to speak passionately about what concerned him, even when that meant criticizing the Republican Party. Noted for his bipartisanship, Aiken often said he would never not vote for a bill just because a Democrat introduced it; rather, he judged each program on its merits.

Such rational and vigorous politicians are hard to come by in a politically charged times. This is why The Essential Aikenmakes an important contribution – it reminds us what “public servant” really means.

Progressive Political Insight That Spans Generations

Aiken on the Republican Party

“We have become a party of old men. Unless we can become also a party of and for young men and women the party will die – and the processes of dissolution have already begun…” Page 29

Aiken on Foreign Wartime Investments:

“Are we going to say to [the common folks of America] that we have to make world-wide markets for guns and oil and materials of war because a new crop of warm millionaires is necessary for our well being, and that the sons of the common people must die in order to bring this about?” Page 59

Bipartisan Praise for The Essential Aiken

“George Aiken was a model legislator who never let partisan politics get in the way of getting the job done. The text of his speeches will surely give insight into the ideas and thought-processes of this dedicated public servant who garnered broad political and citizen support during his many years in office. He was a true gentleman.” – Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States

“My friends Sam Hand and Steve Terry have masterfully distilled George Aiken’s own words to capture the essence of his personality and the highlights of his long an distinguished career of service to Vermont and the nation.” – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

About the Authors:

Samuel B. Hand is a University of Vermont (UVM) professor emeritus of history, and an expert on Vermont’s political history. He recently published The Star That Set: A History of the Vermont Republican Party, and was a co-editor of The Vermont Encyclopedia. He is a former president of the Vermont Historical Society and the Oral History Association, and a director of the Center for Research on Vermont.

Stephen C. Terry is a veteran observer of political affairs and politics in Vermont, and a former reporter and editor at two of Vermont’s daily papers, the Rutland Herald and the Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus. From 1969 to 1975, he was a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator George D. Aiken. He is now a Senior Vice President at Green Mountain Power.