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Raising Cain – Reviews

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December 1, 2016

I’ve read and finished Raising Cain over the past 3 days. Couldn’t put it down. I love your writing…

I admire your ability to give all sides of the picture, essential, of course for a historian. But nevertheless, reading any biographical history, one still gets a general feeling or sense of approval, or lack thereof. You do a very good job of just presenting the information. Oh, my! It concerns me that that may be becoming a lost art….

The most important feeling I have, which came to me fairly early on in my reading, is that I think you ought to do (or have done for you) a promotion again for the book, NOW. I’m very serious. It has been a number of years since publication. I kept thinking while reading, this is SO applicable, so current…in so many ways. People need to read this now. We really must be reminded of the past. Because much of the time it really isn’t the past. If any election has proven that, it’s this one.


“In Raising Cain, C. Mark Smith resurrects the life of Harry P. Cain, whose mid-twentieth century political career as Mayor of Tacoma and US Senator has been strangely forgotten. Few figures in the modern history of Washington are more deserving of a biographical treatment than Cain. His noteworthy defense of Japanese-American civil liberties in the early days of World War II and defiance in the face of McCarthyite tactics are his lasting legacy. Every student of Washington state history will find Smith’s account of Cain’s life story a compelling one.”

David Nicandri, Director
Washington State Historical Society

”Former U.S. Senator Harry Cain of Washington State truly left his mark on the many institutions in which he served—among them the mayoralty of Tacoma, the Supreme Allied Command under Gen. Eisenhower during World War II, the United States Senate, the Subversive Activities Control Board, and the Miami-Dade County Commission. Today Cain is largely forgotten, but this is truly an unjust fate and legacy, as he was a fascinating and courageous (if sometimes puzzling) character and, especially, as he played a key role in helping to discredit some of the worst aspects of the post-World War II American Red Scare, even though he had for years been viewed as a hard-core “McCarthyite.” In this exhaustively researched and well-written book, C. Mark Smith takes us a long way in bringing Cain back from obscurity and putting him in the spotlight which he both loved and, often, deserved.”

Robert Justin Goldstein
Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Oakland University
Author of American Blacklist: The Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organization

“Mark Smith has given us a thorough and fascinating account of the life and complex career of Harry Cain. A soldier and a politician, he was a significant and somewhat puzzling participant in the flow of American history from the 1930s to the 1970s. Smith’s book provides many insights and anecdotes about the man and his politics previously unavailable to historians of this period.”

Dr. Richard Kirkendall
The Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor Emeritus
University of Washington

“Harry Cain was Tacoma’s first modern mayor. He was also Tacoma’s most famous mayor, running as his party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate while still on General Dwight Eisenhower’s staff in London, being elected to the Senate when he returned home from the war and, finally, serving on the Subversive Activities Control Board during the height of the McCarthy era. Harry Cain was always colorful, controversial, and unpredictable. C. Mark Smith, who knew Cain as a young man, captures it all in Raising Cain. A “must read” for Washington State political history lovers!”

Dr. Bill Baarsma
Professor Emeritus, University of Puget Sound
Mayor of Tacoma, 2002-2010

“Harry P. Cain lost the first election he won. As contradictory as that statement sounds, it is nothing compared to Cain himself. The “Fighting Mayor” of Tacoma, and later U.S. Senator from Washington, held political opinions that nearly everyone could hate. Somehow former Tacoma economic development director C. Mark Smith both highlights Cain’s head-scratching political transformations and then makes sense of it all in his very readable new biography Raising Cain: The Life and Politics of Senator Harry P. Cain.”

Peter Callaghan, Columnist
Tacoma News Tribune
Read more of Peter Callaghan’s column at:

“Harry Pulliam Cain enjoyed an unlikely but meteoric political career first as mayor of Tacoma, and as a one-term Republican senator from Washington state. But his career in Washington state politics flamed out in resounding defeat in 1952, and he was generally dismissed as a quirky maverick. Author C. Mark Smith brings the perspective of a family friend and finds consistency in Cain’s patriotism and devotion to civil liberties spanning decades. Smith provides insights into a life that deserves to be remembered.”

Historical Society