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Publisher's Summary

The definitive biography of Herbert Hoover, one of the most remarkable Americans of the 20th century - a revisionist account that will forever change the way Americans understand the man, his presidency, and his battle against the Great Depression.

A poor orphan who built a fortune, a great humanitarian, a president elected in a landslide and then routed in the next election, arguably the father of both New Deal liberalism and modern conservatism - Herbert Hoover is also one of our least understood presidents, conventionally seen only as a heartless failure for his handling of the Great Depression.

Kenneth Whyte fully captures this rich, dramatic life: from Hoover's difficult childhood to his meteoric business career, his work saving hundreds of thousands of lives during World War I and after the 1927 Mississippi floods, his presidency, his painful defeat by Roosevelt, and his return to grace as Truman's emissary to help European refugees after World War II. Whyte brings to life Hoover's complexity and contradictions - his modesty and ambition, ruthlessness and extreme generosity - as well as his political legacy. Here is the epic, poignant story of the poor boy who became the most accomplished figure of his time, who worked ceaselessly to fight the Depression yet became the public face of America's greatest economic crisis. Here, for the first time, is the definitive biography that captures the full scale of this extraordinary life.

©2017 Kenneth Whyte (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"An exemplary biography - exhaustively researched, fair-minded and easy to read. It can nestle on the same shelf as David McCullough's Truman, a high compliment indeed." (Edward Kosner, The Wall Street Journal)

"Outstanding.... This well organized, thoroughly researched, and smoothly written biography persuasively demonstrates that its subject's place in history should be elevated far beyond its current status." (Talmage Boston, Washington Independent Review of Books)

"While no apologist for the man who became synonymous with the Great Depression, Whyte details how Hoover was up against worldwide economic forces that he had no way of controlling and points out that the hard times continued long into Roosevelt’s presidency. Just as interesting, however, are Whyte’s accounts of Hoover’s early life, from his rise from orphanhood to world-traveling problem solver, and his post-presidency attempt to restore his image and regain his place among the 20th century’s most admired people." (Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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What a fascinating story!

I only knew about Herbert Hoover as president and this book, in the almost 28 hours of narration, tells the complete story about how Mr. Hoover grew up in meager circumstances, losing both parents at an early age, and then transformed himself into a business power after gaining a degree in Geology at Stanford University.

The book also takes a fair position on how Mr. Hoover was castigated by the press and the Roosevelt administration and shows the great value he placed in public service, especially when it comes to caring for the "collateral damage" in war time, namely the starving women and children in Europe.

A great book that I will probably listen to again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • SAYRE, OK, USA
  • 07-21-18

Walking in his shoes

This book comes as close to allowing the listener to walk in Hoovers shoes as any biography I have listened to. His life was extraordinarily complex as was the man. This should be required "reading" for anyone wihing to understand the 32d president. An admirable product for a great biographer.

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Amazing man Hoover

A complex man, who was not only engineering genius a humanitarian helped to
save millions of children from starvation
during and after the Great War


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first half was great

the first half of this book was very interesting but I cannot get through the rest of it it's just too dry. is it too late to exchange this