Audie Award, History/Biography, 2015
After Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin wields her magic on another larger-than-life president, and another momentous and raucous American time period as she brings Theodore Roosevelt, the muckraking journalists, and the Progressive Era to life.
As she focused on the relationships between Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in No Ordinary Time, and on Lincoln and his team in Team of Rivals, Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the "muckraking" press - including legendary journalists Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, William Allen White, and editor Sam McClure - Roosevelt had wielded the Bully Pulpit to challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses, and corrupting money brokers. Roosevelt led a revolution that he bequeathed to Taft only to see it compromised as Taft surrendered to money men and big business. The rupture between the two led Roosevelt to run against Taft for president, an ultimately futile race that resulted in the election of Democrat Woodrow Wilson and the diminishment of Theodore Roosevelt's progressive wing of the Republican Party.
Like Goodwin's chronicles of the Civil War and the Great Depression, The Bully Pulpit describes a time in our history that enlightened and changed the country, ushered in the modern age, and produced some unforgettable men and women.
©2013 Doris Kearns Goodwin (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
“Few audio productions this year are likely to match, or deserve as much praise as, this history of the Progressive Era and the presidential friendship that shaped, and was destroyed by, its politics… Edward Herrmann is simply her most simpatico reader…his steady, unflagging delivery is perfectly attuned to her narrative voice and, without mimicry, to the broad array of voices, personalities, and events that highlight this rich personal and social drama.” (AudioFile)
“Swiftly moving account of a friendship that turned sour, broke a political party in two and involved an insistent, omnipresent press corps. . . . It’s no small achievement to have something new to say on Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, but Goodwin succeeds admirably. A notable, psychologically charged study in leadership.”(Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review)
If you love history, you will love this book. It is majestic in the way it tells the story of two extraordinary men and the world in which they lived.
It reminded me of the Kennedys and Fitzgeralds because of the historical context provided
Great as usual
One of Doris' best
The story tells a part of history from a human side sadly over looked in history classes but possibly one of the most important in American history.
Goodwin's research is so detailed she manages not only to weave together an engaging plot, but these larger than life characters actually grow and change. We see their vices and virtues and how they impact the nation overtime. I can't say enough about this book.
This may be the best of Goodwin's already impressive body of work.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a terrific narrator, and does a good job relating the sweep of history and how her various characters fit into the sweep (and influence the sweep as well). With respect to Taft & Roosevelt, and especially the latter, there is not a lot of new information here, but it is the "how" of the narration that is new, the connecting of the dots between the two of them, and between them & the history of the US that is novel here.
It would be impossible and indeed undesirable to read this in just one sitting, it is a sprawling story, in the way Kearns Goodwin tells it. And it is better to take smaller bites over a longer period, to appreciate the story.
A strength of this book and indeed of all of this author's books, is her strength as a narrator. A weakness is the absence of analysis. And, often, along with that lack, the portrayal of the protagonists with a substantial deemphasis of their flaws. Not so much their flaws as people but the flaws of their policies.
Listening to the breakup and reuniting of Taft and Roosevelt
When Roosevelt returned from Africa to discover Taft had let him down.
It's history that hasn't been told before. And no one can write history better than Doris Kearns Goodwin. Talking about a "progressive" Republican. Fighting some of the same battles being fought today.
Doris Kearns Goodwin once again demonstrates her ability to show how history impacts our lives today. I was fascinated to learn the nature of the Progressive legislation that was being proposed by Roosevelt and Taft and how we as a nation still struggle with balance on these issues.
She is fair in showing both strengths and weaknesses in Roosevelt, Taft and the journalists of that day. As in Team of Rivals, the reader (listener) could see how Roosevelt grew as a leader, learning that persuasion and timing are as essential to the art of leading, as ideas.
You can also see the essential role that the news media played in the political changes that were so necessary at that time in our history.
For anyone interested in, or studying American history, this is a must read.
No, I love both forms. The print version has beautiful photos. I love that.
The personalization of the characters. Doris Kearns Goodwin really knows how to bring those characters into your home. It was wonderful. I feel like I know Presidents Roosevelt and Taft and their wives personally.
The description of Roosevelt and Taft walking together along the streets of Washington, DC. Both men are physically distinct, and for some reason, I found that scene amusing and beautifully memorable - a picture of a great friendship.
This is one of the most well written, interesting biographies/historical reviews of a time period in American history I have ever read/heard. The Roosevelt - Taft period itself saw many significant changes in our approach to government, so in and of itself the times were alive and well worth the reviewing and learning. The fact that both Roosevelt and Taft were men of larger than life personalities and intellect made the material even more engaging. For me it also contained very interesting revelations about the development of our 2 major political parties. I very highly recommend this work.
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