In the tradition of Truman, John Adams, and Team of Rivals, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning biographer of Charles Lindbergh, Maxwell Perkins, and Samuel Goldwyn sheds new light on a president and his presidency in a way that redefines our understanding of a tide-turning historical moment.
One hundred years after his inauguration, Woodrow Wilson still stands as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, and one of the most enigmatic. And now, after more than a decade of research and writing, Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg has completed Wilson - the most personal and penetrating biography ever written about the 28th president.
In addition to the hundreds of thousands of documents in the Wilson Archives, Berg was the first biographer to gain access to two recently discovered caches of papers belonging to those close to Wilson. From this material, Berg was able to add countless details - even several unknown events - that fill in missing pieces of Wilson’s character and cast new light on his entire life.
From the scholar-president who ushered the country through its first great world war to the man of intense passion and turbulence, from the idealist determined to make the world "safe for democracy", to the stroke-crippled leader whose incapacity and the subterfuges around it were among the century’s greatest secrets; the result is an intimate portrait written with a particularly contemporary point of view - a book at once magisterial and deeply emotional about the whole of Wilson’s life, accomplishments, and failings. This is not just Wilson the icon - but Wilson the man.
©2013 A. Scott Berg (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
I would have had no interest in reading Wilson, except that I heard the author interviewed on an Australian radio program. My preconception of the former President was of a bland, formal, humourless and ineffectual leader. I confess that this view was based on my own ignorance, and the few grainy black and white photos I had seen.
So with that backdrop, I touched play and proceeded to have all of those thoughts turned on their heads. I was enthralled by this story. A story so connected to modern politics and world events. A story of emotion and humanity, not a dry chronology of the movements and decisions of the man.
It is a story well told and well narrated. As the book unfolded I found myself connected with Woodrow Wilson, as well as his family, friends, enemies and the fascinating times in which he lived.
Yes I would recommend this book for any biography junkie especially political biography junkies. I bought the abridged version but wonder now if maybe I should have gotten the unabridged because I did like the book and will probably listen to parts of it again in a couple months because it is inspiring.
I liked the back half of the book the best from WWI through his death and legacy. When he had his first major stroke and he and his wife and doctor were keeping his condition from the public and Senators was an interesting part of the book. I also appreciated the description of his grief as a result of the fallen soldiers in WW I. There is also a lot of depth to the book and good research. I listened to it twice and liked it just a much the second time if not more.
The ending chapter leading up to his death and his legacy grabbed me a little or maybe it was just that I was listening to that part of the book on a lazy Sunday afternoon and had a glimpse of my own mortality.
I don't think the book rises to the level of the John Adams biography. The reason could because I only bought the abridged version. I did not know much about Wilson even though he was a relatively modern President. His moral Character is a focus in the book. I definitely have a greater appreciation for Wilson after having listened to the book I am very satisfied with the purchase and can now say I view Wilson as a great president.
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