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The Bully Pulpit Audiobook

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

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Publisher's Summary

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

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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Deborah Smith SAINT PAUL, MN, US 05-08-17
    Deborah Smith SAINT PAUL, MN, US 05-08-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Teddy and Will"

    I did not realize the book was about Teddy Roosevelt and Will Taft. I listened to the first section again to get the story in my head. I had not followed that the story was jumping from Teddy to Taft I love political biographies. I learned so much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Cynthia Kershner 05-06-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Lengthy, but well worth the time"

    It took a long time to get through it, but it became a dear friend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Kenneth Press Nemzer Tiburon, CA USA 05-01-17
    Kenneth Press Nemzer Tiburon, CA USA 05-01-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Another classic!"


    Brava! who else could make Taft as interesting as TR? No one at all! Read it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis D Wright 04-29-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Details, uninteresting up front, create thorough story"

    Why I read the book:

    - Understand the influence and positions of Roosevelt.

    - Understand how and why Taft wasn't re-elected.

    - Learn about journalism in that era and what muckraking was.

    Given those objectives, the provided everything I wanted.

    What I didn't enjoy was the extensive familial backgrounds of so many figures. I expected to learn about Teddy and Taft's family history but not each of the 6-8 journalists who were important to the story.

    Although the backgrounds were very well documented, and provided a greater understanding of the individuals, I didn't find them interesting when longer than a page of information.

    All that aside, it was as good as any nonfiction story that I've read. It included assassination, new political parties, third terms, introduction of automobiles, the Titanic, and other events with historical relevance.

    Very fun but definitely an investment of time.

    FYI, the speaker is slow so I listened on 1.25x speed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bogenbroom 04-27-17
    Bogenbroom 04-27-17 Member Since 2014
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    "One of the best stories in history"


    This was a great book that brought together the story of the investigative journalists who fomented popular support for the legislative accomplishments of Theodore Roosevelt. It wasn't until Iistened to this audiobook that I realized just how adept he was at using the best journalists to help him get his way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine 03-23-17
    Catherine 03-23-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazing"

    so well written, so much of today and its problems are in all these pages, but we are sadly missing the journalists of this historical account. Ida Tarbel and her companion journalists made all the difference in bringing about the reforms so desperately needed, but as advertising pushed aside content and clarity in the press, the country lost its way. So glad Doris Kearns Goodwin cared enough to write this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PJ 03-22-17
    PJ 03-22-17 Member Since 2014

    I am a history buff. I enjoy presidential & military leadership bios and space history. I believe that the key to our future is in our past

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    "Outstanding Book"

    A historical masterpiece. Doris Kearns Goodwin weaves several elements in a systematic manner into an enjoyable and riveting story. Edward Herrmann reads this with his characteristic voice. Phenomenal.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Black Knight 03-02-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellently Done"

    This work made me ask myself a question; Why is Theodore Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore with icons like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. He should not be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    John Fort Collins, CO, United States 03-01-17
    John Fort Collins, CO, United States 03-01-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent combination of three different subjects"
    Any additional comments?

    I bought this audiobook since I enjoyed other books by Doris Kearns Goodwin, I think Edward Hermann is a great reader, and the reviews looked good. I didn't pay much attention to the title, other than Theodore Roosevelt appeared to be the main subject.

    But actually, all three subjects (Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the "birth" of investigative journalism) were treated almost equally, and were interwoven with great skill throughout the book. I already knew a great deal about Theodore Roosevelt, but knew next to nothing of Taft. I greatly enjoyed learning more about him, and also about the history of some of the great investigative journalists in the early 20th century.

    This book is long, but well worth it. I highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    alan hosch 02-03-17
    alan hosch 02-03-17 Member Since 2016
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    "The Rocky Friendship of Two Progressive Presidents"
    What made the experience of listening to The Bully Pulpit the most enjoyable?

    Doris Kearns Goodwin has a way of making you appreciate and like the characters in her works of historical prose. As always, Edward Herrmann is a wonderful performer.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    President Taft was a man of deep integrity. Although he seems to have been a flawed communicator, his insistence on following the Supreme Law of the Land - the U.S. Constitution - places him in the pantheon of history far above President Theodore Roosevelt. He was also one of our greatest Supreme Court Chief Justices.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Progressives are Flawed


    Any additional comments?

    This book proves the immense problems with the implementation of the Progressive agenda. While we all may agree with the themes of Progressives' political platforms, our Constitution must be subverted and abused in order to force those platforms into becoming reality. Our government was never intended to have that much power. A President was never supposed to become a dictator. When Roosevelt forced his way to ending Laissez-Faire with Executive Orders and Congressional back door deals, he led the way to the creation of a Modern Era in politics in which Presidents act more like kings than enforcers of the law.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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