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)
The last phrase of the subtitle, The Golden Age of Journalism, tells the most significant part of the story. I remember all the characters from high school history class, but not their interconnections. Fascinating, and so well told and narrated.
Doris Goodwin's account of Roosevelt and Taft was rich in detail and imagery, and interwove facts and poetic descriptions, all of which made this (mind you, it's a 60 hour historical account) delight to listen to and one you don't want to put down.
Absolutely. This could (and should) be required reading for anyone wanting to develop historical research. Goodwin's narrative tied together thousands of quotes and excerpts, allowing the subjects of the book to practically come back to life and tell the story for themselves. I never felt she was injecting her personal commentary, but was instead showing the reader what events actually transpired and how things came to be. Comprehensive. Smart. Incredibly well researched. And the Edward Herrmann narration was a spot-on match for the voice such a well done book deserves.
The most memorable moment for me was finding out that the item that ultimately drove a wedge between two such good friends and political allies came from little more than an innocent acknowledgment in a letter by Taft that Roosevelt was not the only person who helped Taft ascend to the Presidency. That such a small comment could lead a monumental ego to try to displace a sitting President and start a third party was astounding.
I enjoyed the juxtaposition between the Taft and Roosevelt scenes, where you were left understanding how deeply Taft loved his wife and how we was at heart a simple and kind man. By contrast, Teddy Roosevelt was such a cult of personality and strong leader that it's hard to believe he was a real person (he literally gave an hour and a half speech in Milwaukee AFTER getting shot by a would-be assassin in the chest). The two men ultimately complemented themselves, and I was very cheered when in their later years they reconciled their differences and became friends again.
The unbelievable true story of two men whose vision helped shaped the nation.
Perhaps the best credit I have ever spent on Audible.
It is hard to get a full appreciation of just how significant were the early years of the 20th century in American politics. But "The Bully Pulpit" sure goes a long way in that regard. The modern politics of personality truly saw their birth in the 1912 race between Roosevelt and Taft, and it coincided with a revolution in journalism that saw the creation of the investigative reporter. That Roosevelt has become a legend in modern American history is undisputed; but Doris Goodwin shows Roosevelt with all of his faults, excesses, and near megalomania for the presidency. Goodwin also portrays a far more nuanced and sympathetic fewest have to then we traditionally see in history books, underlining the president's personal struggles and his fundamentally different temperament from Roosevelt. The story of the two men's fortunes, and the development of the first American muckrakers, make for a wholly fascinating story from start to finish. And the narration from Ed Herrmann is spot on, conveying nuances that perhaps are not possible in the simple written words. Wholeheartedly recommend this audiobook!
Love detailed history written in as unbiased a manner as is possible. My passion has always been American History but I also enjoy world history.
Yes, good blend of story about William Howard Taft whom I knew nothing before along with a solid description of Teddy Roosevelt.
Unknown story of the friendship and cooperation between Taft and Roosevelt.
He just made it an easy listen. Very professionally done.
Yes, it was not boring in any phase.
This should be made into a movie and would fare better than Lincoln.
I feel such a sense of accomplishment having finished this. Superb all the way around and I learned SO much about an incredible period in American history and two amazing figures who shaped it. I never could have managed to read something this long which is why I got the ebook. Totally recommended!
Progressivism, Journalism, Relationships
William Howard Taft. This little-known president had an amazing intellect and moral character.
Gives great voice to historical figures
The story of Archie Butt and his role between two presidents.
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