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The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism | [Doris Kearns Goodwin]

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

Goodwin describes the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. With the help of the "muckraking" press, 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 led Roosevelt to run against Taft for president, an ultimately futile race that gave power away to the Democrats.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

“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)

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  •  
    Wolfpacker Fort Mill, SC 06-22-15
    Wolfpacker Fort Mill, SC 06-22-15 Member Since 2014

    Curtis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Roosevelt, Taft, and the Muckrakers"

    As in Team of Rivals, Kearns shows her talent here for coming up with a unique angle to examine a familiar topic. The relationship between the two likeable, but different men, Roosevelt and Taft takes a couple of twists and turns. The perspective of the "Muckraker" journalists into the politics surrounding these two larger-than-life Presidents worked well. The only downside to this book is that there are a couple of times where the action dies as the writing gets a bit long-winded.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R.J. Hamer 04-18-15
    R.J. Hamer 04-18-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Very Good Story"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loretta R. Cooper 07-13-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""Reads" like novel. Couldn't put it down."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Concerned Reader Stamford, CT, USA 03-25-14
    Concerned Reader Stamford, CT, USA 03-25-14 Member Since 2003

    Michael

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A (Too) Big Listen"
    Any additional comments?

    Doris K-G makes the Roosevelt & Taft years come alive. Names change but politics in a capitalist society stays the same. There are those who are eager to serve the very wealthy, make excuses for them, and pass legislation that increases their monopoly rents while claiming it is for the good of all. Roosevelt was the great reformer seeking to limit the power of the monopolists, first in New York State where those in power sought to park him in the least influential position, the vice presidency, and then in the White House when McKinley was assassinated. Teddy was a superstar in his day, commanding huge audiences and positive relationship with the press including the muckrakers. He worked hand in hand with reform minded journalists in effect creating a bully pulpit. Taft yearned for acceptance and praise. He did well in his stint in the Philippines but he preferred making judicial decisions. K-G describes how the two became fast friends and collaborators in the reform movement so much so that TR saw Taft as his successor. Things did not work out so well. Taft was an easy mark for the enemies of reform who found him open to manipulation. Roosevelt grew so disgusted with Taft that he ended up forming the Bull Moose Party in 1912 allowing the Woodrow Wilson to win the presidency against a split Republican party.
    The book is a sprawling work with lots of background details on the historical figures. At 800 pages it tips the scale a bit too heavily toward too much detail. Nevertheless it is an insightful book. It would probably be better read than listened to since skipping some of the voluminous details would be easier to do in the print version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Littman OH 12-29-13
    D. Littman OH 12-29-13 Member Since 2015

    history buff

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    "Good narrative, little analysis"
    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Bell San Antonio, TX USA 12-27-13
    Craig Bell San Antonio, TX USA 12-27-13 Member Since 2002
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    "Doris Goodwin - at her best"
    Where does The Bully Pulpit rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 3


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bully Pulpit?

    Listening to the breakup and reuniting of Taft and Roosevelt


    Which character – as performed by Edward Herrmann – was your favorite?

    Teddy Roosevelt


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Roosevelt returned from Africa to discover Taft had let him down.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Pflugerville, Tx, United States 12-21-13
    Jim Pflugerville, Tx, United States 12-21-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Expected good and was better"

    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-15-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Bully Pulpit to be better than the print version?

    No, I love both forms. The print version has beautiful photos. I love that.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn 07-14-15
    Shawn 07-14-15
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    "Stick with it, 2nd half better than 1st"

    Took me almost 2 years to finish this 30-hour plus book partially due to the fact of the first half was a bit tedious. The second half, however, was superb and the last few charming chapters made the time well worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bucephalus Irving, TX United States 07-14-15
    Bucephalus Irving, TX United States 07-14-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Great overview of the Progressive Era"

    This is a good overview of the entire Progressive Era and a great look at the relationship and split between the two presidents. I especially enjoyed hearing about WHT as I have always looked at him as a second fiddle to TR. I have now revised my views on him and actually like WHT much more than his predecessor in the presidency. He seems a much more genuine person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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