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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

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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Fictionwriter Massachusetts 02-11-14
    Fictionwriter Massachusetts 02-11-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm a writer of everything from children's picture books to fiction to memoir. I usually listen to nonfiction, mostly history, on Audible simply because I prefer to read novels on the page. The only exception to that rule is short stories and I'm partial to the Selected Shorts Anthologies.

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    "Fascinating story of a unique friendship"

    Goodwin brings out the interesting tale of TR's great friendship with William Howard Taft. They complemented each other perfectly, and turned to one another on many occasions for advice and support as they each battled corporate interests in their own way. But in 1912, when TR decided to run on the Progressive ticket, the friendship soured to disdain. It wasn't until years later that these two men connected again in the years before Roosevelt died. The other fascinating part of this book is the description of the "muckrakers", Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker and Lincoln Steffen and their connection with S.S. McClure who brought them to print in his magazine, McClure's Magazine. Goodwin does an excellent job weaving all these characters together and Ed Herrmann is the perfect reader for this history. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie Pine Bush, NY, United States 02-07-14
    Maggie Pine Bush, NY, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Really enjoyed this book"
    Any additional comments?

    You really have to love history. The book is very detailed and based mostly off of personal letters written between Teddy and Taft. It can get a little long-winded at times, but that being said, I don't know what I would remove from book if asked to shorten it.

    I really loved learning more about Taft, a little-known character in history. He was truly a great man.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald E. Campbell Pearl, MS USA 02-04-14
    Donald E. Campbell Pearl, MS USA 02-04-14 Member Since 2012

    reader

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    "A must read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Bully Pulpit the most enjoyable?

    I have listened to/read a lot of history. It is the rare feat when a writer can make history sound like a novel. DKG achieves it. Not only did I enjoy the writing style, I also enjoyed the structure of the book. I really enjoyed the discussion of Roosevelt, Taft, and the press. Looking at it through the lens of what is going on now (with the Tea Partiers, the call for eliminating income inequality) -- the underlying story really does have a modern feel to it. It was a book I did not want to end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Mazzulla Canada 01-31-14
    J. Mazzulla Canada 01-31-14 Member Since 2013

    mzmazz

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    "Kearns Goodwin Hits it out of the Park....Again"
    If you could sum up The Bully Pulpit in three words, what would they be?

    Rigorous, Penetrating, Exhaustive


    What other book might you compare The Bully Pulpit to and why?

    Margaret MacMillan's The War That Ended Peace, both books are similarly well researched and written.


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

    I especially enjoyed his subtle rendition of William Taft, the learned jurist.


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

    No, because of the subject matter and penetrating depth of its subject matter, this book lends itself to slow, careful listening in small chunks. You want to make sure that you have time to digest the information before moving on to the next part.


    Any additional comments?

    I first encountered Doris Kearns Goodwin's writing in "A Team of Rivals" and became a fan of her writing. The Bully Pulpit has only served to make me an even more ardent reader of her work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Saint Charles, IL, United States 01-05-14
    W Saint Charles, IL, United States 01-05-14 Member Since 2014
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    "The Bully Pulpit - Just too long for me"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    For starters I have read a lot of Doris Kearns Goodwin, but this is the first book I have listened to. To that end, I am starting to wonder if I should have READ this book as opposed to listening to it. Like her other books, I think it is very well researched. I think the issues I have with it are because of my tastes, which is what my ranking stems from. Here are some examples of aspects of the book that I do not like:

    - Too much information about McClure's magazine. If the book ended with TR's presidency, this wouldn't have been an issue. But as the book winds down (finally!), and the story shifts to the rift between TR and Taft, I wonder if the long sections on the press were really necessary? I believe they were to the early part of the story, which is probably why the editor left them in the title.

    - Given this, however, I feel like this is really two books in one. Book 1 was really about how TR used the press to move American opinion to his progressive agenda. Book 2 is about the relationship between TR and Taft. Their rift, split, and the start of a new party leading to the election of Wilson.

    Overall, this is a very good work. I can't say that enough. It just isn't my favorite DKG work. For me, it falls down to fourth:

    1) No Ordinary Time
    2) Team of Rivals (more like 1A to the above)
    3) Wait Till Next Year (*I'm a baseball fan, otherwise B.P. would fall in here)
    4) Bully Pulpit


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Lyter Kempton, PA 01-05-14
    L. Lyter Kempton, PA 01-05-14 Member Since 2012

    Runner, Commuter, Dietitian with a passion for U.S. History.

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    "So I had this insomnia problem"

    Normally, I find Doris Kearns Goodwin books among the best in historical biography, but this one didn't do it for me. William Taft, decent man and talented jurist that he was, doesn't provide engaging material for a sweeping history. Theodore Roosevelt (I get the hint and won't call him "Teddy") could hold my interest more, but in an annoying, frustrating type of way, As assistant secretary of the Navy, deceived his superior into taking an extended vacation so he could essentially set up a war, snapping up a leading role that propelled him into the oval office. Admittedly, TR bravely led his Rough Riders, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for the men once back home, in quarantine, recovering from Yellow Fever while Roosevelt boasts, "I had a bully war!" I would constantly doze off upon listening to the intricacies of the literary forays and social lives of the Mrs. Taft and Roosevelt. Through the biographies of the McClure's magazine writers I would slumber, only to awaken hours later to find myself in the Philippines with stodgy Mr. Taft and his wife who wore (gasp!) short skirts. I can't pinpoint the precise point in this mountain of details that I ended up liking TR less than before listening to the book. He was, after all, a good president, first rate conservationist, and skilled politician, and deserves his place on Mount Rushmore. Undoubtedly he was a fascinating individual, but I will promote this audiobook as the best non prescription sleep aid one could want, with no harmful side effects.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Sue Grand Junction, CO, United States 01-05-14
    Sue Grand Junction, CO, United States 01-05-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Why is a man reading a woman author's nonfiction?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes, the story is compelling and interesting. The way the author laid the groundwork for history, based on temperament is quite interesting. A good foundation


    What didn’t you like about Edward Herrmann’s performance?

    It was so distracting to listen to a book that was well researched and well written from a woman's perspective be read by a man, that I almost had to stop listening altogether on several occasions.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosemary Greenwich, CT, United States 01-01-14
    Rosemary Greenwich, CT, United States 01-01-14 Member Since 2007

    I love the last 150 years of history. Bully Pulpit and the Wilson biography absolute best!

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    "The best book of the year"

    The combination of Doris Goodwin's superbly interesting narrative and Ed Hermann's fabulous voice takes us back a hundred years and lets us walk around. A champ of a book! I was so sorry to finish it after 18 wonderful hours.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Lubbock, TX, USA 01-01-14
    Patrick Lubbock, TX, USA 01-01-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Doris Kearns Goodwin Does It Again"
    If you could sum up The Bully Pulpit in three words, what would they be?

    The Power of Connection


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I could not pick a favorite. The author painted each so fully and lovingly, with strength and foibles, that to pick one would be an injustice to her craft.


    What does Edward Herrmann bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He conveyed the emotion and social content that was the central theme which wove together these lives and made this more than a history.


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

    The reconciliation of Taft and Roosevelt.


    Any additional comments?

    Doris Kearns Goodwin has a truly unique gift for weaving a tapestry of the connections and interactions of historic and political figures. She portrays how their networks of support, their rivalries and their weaknesses buoy them and drag them down. The human depth and character development she unfolds make her histories a joy to read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Brickel MT. Dora,FL 32757 12-31-13
    Stephen Brickel MT. Dora,FL 32757 12-31-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Bully to the Bully Pulpit"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    What a great Book! The history of TR and Taft as well as the publishing industry of the day. Very informative and well performed. My only wish was that the book be shorter. Although very interesting their was much to much detail. These famous people who where much more liberal then any current day Republican could have been fleshed out with fewer words


    What did you like best about this story?

    What a way to learn about some of our most important political statesmen. a great listen. From Teddy Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson all the in fighting and back room dealings a great insight.


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

    Hermann's reading was fantastic! Of course he had great material to help him along the way with this very long book.


    Any additional comments?

    About two hours shorter would have been great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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