John Milton Cooper, Jr., is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s preeminent Woodrow Wilson biographers. This thoroughly researched profile of America’s 28th president is universally hailed for its scholarship and insight into the life and career ofone of the nation’s most polarizing leaders.
©2009 John Milton Cooper, Jr. (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
"A rich and thoughtful portrait of a transformative, controversial and resonant president.” (Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author)
“Cooper’s monumental new biography seeks to revive Wilson for the 21st century—not simply to narrate a presidential life, but to explain why he deserves our national esteem….An admiring and engaging work of presidential revisionism…. A powerful, deeply researched and highly readable case for keeping Wilson in the top ranks of American presidents.” (New York Times Book Review)
Bought this book as I was intrigued by the subject. The author approaches his subject in a very scholarly way but it does read more like an extended encyclopedia entry than an engrossing picture of the man. Have to say that I did not enjoy the narrator whose style was very ponderous.
As a reader of many biographies of American political figures, I found this one to be very disappointing, not so much for what it includes as for what it doesn't. The author does a good job of describing Wilson's actions, but I came away from the story with no real feel for the inner man and what motivated him. There was almost nothing included from Wilson's journals or private letters (could this scholar really have written so little?) and no interpretation on the author's part as to how various events in Wilson's life, or how his "inner man" influenced his actions. I kept recalling Jack Webb's famous line, "Just the facts, ma'am." But I look for more than that in a biography. I want the insight of McCullough, I suppose, and it was simply missing here. There is almost nothing about Wilson's childhood and virtually no details about his relationship with his parents or siblings. The death of Wilson's first wife, Ellen, was dispatched with in, if printed, must have been about two pages. The public's reaction to his second wife is still a mystery. This book needs more heft, more "personality." It was very dry.
That said, I have to say that the narrator did a fantastic job. If I'd been reading the book instead of listening, I would probably have not finished it. But the narrator was so easy to listen to that I stuck with it.
I'm not sorry I listened to it, because the availability of Wilson biographies through audible is pretty scarce. But I really would like more information than this book provides.
This book so good, that it is hard to understand why it was only a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It is extremely informative about an era that isn't as well covered as others in American history. Though I am pretty knowledgeable about history, there were many things in here that were quite new to me, such as how his legislative success rivaled that of FDR, the conflicts with Mexico (and their relation to earlier imperialism), and how Wilson's progressivism compared with Theodore Roosevelt's progressivism. Overall, in it you learn a lot, not just about Wilson's presidency but about American history in the first two decades of the 20th century.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I have been reading books about WW1 and as Wilson was President of the U.S. during the WW1 he is on my list. This is an interesting will research and written book on Wilson, I learned a lot of from it. Cooper provided an unbiased look at Wilson showing us his good and bad traits. Wilson's greatest accomplishment was the appointment of Brandise to the Supreme Court, the first Jew so appointed. At the time this was very controversial and Wilson showed great political ability guiding the appointment to completion. He did back women suffrage but only with pushing from his daughters. He was born in the south and his record on race relations was poor. I enjoyed the realm of personal information provided on Wilson, he left lots of letters. Too bad the art of letter writing is passing away, they wrote so elegantly in the 1900's. There is so much infromation packed into this book I can not begin to hightlight but a small portion. If you are interested in history or in U.S. President this book is well worth the credits.
Semi-retired labor and delivery nurse, wife, mother and grandmother of 10. Love to read for pleasure. B&B owner in the Texas Hill Country.
Wilson's family and key people in his life lacked form. There was so little information about who they were and how he related to them on a personal level. Very bare bones on the relationships which is what makes us interested in history.
Yes, but not for a while. Need to read a novel now.
His performance was very good. Precise and easy to listen to for a long book.
Yes, I love history even when it's a little dry.
Concentrate on his presidency
It was dull. So many insignificant details. What a bore for a man that had just great ideas
Drawl. Sleep walking
I cant rememer anything its that boring
Read the policy not the politics. This was painful, not sure who would get excited by this, youd have to be in a coma.
Lots of gaseous and extremely conventional characterization as compared with direct historical content & contextual analysis.
His voice is that of an old man, with rather more of an accent that I'd expect. A ponderous text becomes more ponderous.
So well presented & narrated that it reminded me of Truman by David Mccullough. Thorough, well written, about all you can ask for in a complete biography. On par with the Best.
I found the audio version unfortunate in its choice of reader: both the voice and the pronunciaton were sometimes grating. Intonation and pace were fine, though, and I never lost interest.
I listened to this book immediately after Doris Kearns Goodwin's 'The Bully Pulpit' and it was a great way to move on from that overview of the time of Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft.
Worked on the pronunciation of unusual and foreign words.
The idea that just weeks before his death, Wilson, who should have stepped aside after his stroke over four years earlier, was still able to believe that it made sense to prepare for another run at the Presidency later the same year.
Fans of The West Wing may remember Ainslie Hayes, played by Emily Procter, the Republican lawyer who takes a job in the Counsel’s Office of a Democratic White House. In a bantering argument with Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), she asks “How many grand theories of international relations did [Woodrow] Wilson come up with that were dead on arrival in Congress?”
There was, in fact, only one that mattered. But it was massive.
US President at the end of the First World War, Wilson was a leading figure in drawing up the Versailles Peace Treaty that made peace with Germany and launched the League of Nations. That body, the predecessor to the United Nations, was intended to prevent war by using the power of other states against any that tried to impose its will be violence.
As John Milton Cooper points out, Wilson ‘conceded that the League would bring no absolute guarantee against another world war, “but I can predict with absolute certainty that, within another generation, there will be another world war if the nations of the world, if the League of Nations, does not prevent it with concerted action.’
In the event, he couldn’t persuade Congress to ratify the Treaty and the US never joined the League of Nations. There were, undoubtedly, other factors but the world did indeed descend into another world war, as Wilson predicted, within a generation.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.