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Publisher's Summary

A harsh and revealing political exposé of two beloved presidents.

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano reveals how Teddy Roosevelt, a bully, and Woodrow Wilson, a constitutional scholar, each pushed aside the Constitution’s restrictions on the federal government and used it as an instrument to redistribute wealth, regulate personal behavior, and enrich the government. These two men and the Progressives who supported them have brought us, among other things:

  • The income tax
  • The Federal Reserve
  • Compulsory, state-prescribed education
  • The destruction of state sovereignty
  • The rise of Jim Crow and military conscription
  • Prohibition and war

The Progressive Era witnessed the most dramatic peaceful shift of power from persons and from the states to a new and permanent federal bureaucracy in all of American history. Theodore and Woodrow exposes two of our nation’s most beloved presidents and how they helped speed the Progressive cause on its merry way.

©2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. (P)2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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  • Jerry
  • United States
  • 04-15-13

Not being a libertarian!

Not being a libertarian, but more an independent conservative, I found Napolitano's book the most enlightening listen in a very long time. Get it; progressive history they didn't teach you through our progressive educational establishment-bureaucracy.

As an old-school Roman Catholic, Napolitano brings up both Roosevelt's and Wilson's Protestantism. However their Preterism is really a bigger and bolder attempt to create America's historic religious narrative and that is, mankind should attempt to create God's eternal "Shining City on a Hill," on this continent. It doesn't seem that is working out too well at the present time.

Perhaps, contrary to our wishful thinking, maybe we really are not God, nor gods!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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The Case Against Theodore and Woodrow...

This was a fascinating and insightful look at the social/political philosophy of progressivism, and how it drove America's first progressive presidents - Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson - to fundamentally change the US Constitution. Andrew Napolitano cuts right to what he sees as the heart of the issue: Roosevelt and Wilson worked to destroy the federalism built into the US Constitution by the founders primarily through the means of: 1) progressive taxation (the income tax), 2) the expansion of the regulatory state and the scope of the federal government into state and local jurisdictions, 3) the wielding of US military power to influence political events around the globe, 4) federally directed social engineering to "improve" society, 5) the manipulation of US currency and orchestration of monetary policy through a central bank (Federal Reserve System), 6) the direct election of US Senators by popular vote.

Napolitano, a staunch, energetic, and well-spoken libertarian, makes the case that the pressing of these items from the turn-of-the century progressive's agenda by Roosevelt and Wilson sent the US on a path away from the one envisioned by the founders. Instead of limited government power, state's rights, and frugal monetary policy and budgeting, with Roosevelt and Wilson the US started a journey toward a strong and oppressive federal government, weakened state jurisdictions which have increasingly become little more than sub-jurisdictional units of the federal burocracy, an imperial executive, bloated budgets, and reckless fiscal policy. Napolitano makes no bones that his book is not a history of the two progressive administrations or a biography of the men who lead them. It is, instead his brief with which he indicts them in the court of Constitutional Originalism.

Napolitano is well researched and makes his points clearly. Liberals who worship these two giants of early 20th century American politics may be surprised to read many of the things they said and did, and what their reasoning was for pursuing a progressive agenda. Conservatives will be surprised just how much they have also strayed from ideals and mindset of the founding fathers when they compare some of the so-called "conservative" planks in their platforms with progressive ideas that found their beginning in the Roosevelt and/or Wilson administrations. A must read for all those who think they are familiar with Theodore Roosevelt and his character, or those who think they understand what caused America's entrance into The Great War (WWI).

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Lance
  • Maryland, United States
  • 07-23-13

Something for everyone....

Libertarian? Conservative? Democrat? Democracies are failing all around the world and the US is not too far behind. Why? Napolitano does a very good job of teeing up a litany of potential suspects. I believe the author is a libertarian, so if you can't deal with a libertarian viewpoint then this book might not be for you. Indeed, I consider myself a libertarian but have a hard time with the logical extensions that seem to be endemic in the libertarian community. Probably no different than the republican or democrat communities, but I get the sense that the libertarians keep to themselves more than the others and thus make a number of what seem to be logical extensions that for most people just leave them saying, "Huh? Are these people crazy?". Even if you're a libertarian I think you'll have a few of these moments reading this book. You almost want to distance yourself from the author at times. But take a look at some of the key issues that are discussed. I think the author has many good points. You'll get some good history if you don't close your mind to it. Our country clearly has serious deeply rooted issues. The author's deep knowledge of both history and the workings of our court and legislative system make him someone that should at least be listened to with an open mind.

For me I found some of the explanations incredibly thought provoking including the impact of the Seventeenth Amendment (went from Senators from states to Senators from the people, thereby elevating the Federal over the State and legislative). The federal reserve section seems incredibly interesting given the increasing power of this quasi-governmental agency. The increasingly interventionist nature of our federal government into foreign affairs I found interesting, though I usually dislike libertarian foreign policy immensely. Educational influence through the state school systems was also interesting. The book in general highlights that the progressive era really changed many things in America and put us on a slippery slope where increasingly government is doing more things for more people and in typical governmental fashion not doing them well. Despite many acknowledgements of the pitfalls in progressive thinking this philosophy pervades much of the republican and democratic platforms and indeed much of our political dialogue in this country. I did not enjoy learning about the racial analyses underpinning some of our presidential decision making, and found it unfair to charge folks from earlier eras as being somehow less than perfect because they held these ideas. I don't know what it was like to live in those days. If all politicians believed those things back then it is fair to hold them to today's standards? In an ideal world, they would not have been like that, but the world is never ideal.

Sorry for the rambling. I found my initial reaction to this book was to draw me away from libertarianism. The more the ideas sit with me, the more they are finding resonance. Interesting times we live in. If you want a book to challenge how you think about the times, this is a pretty good, though at times challenging book. Stay with it and keep an open mind, whether you're democrat or conservative there is something fundamental and deep here for you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A very enlightening history lesson.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The time was very well spent. A good history lesson most people are not fully aware of.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I enjoyed the comparisons made between the two Presidents.

What about Scott Moore’s performance did you like?

Scott has an easy voice to listen to as well as good cadence to his voice.

Did Theodore and Woodrow inspire you to do anything?

Pay more attention to what is really being done by people in office as opposed to what they say.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Please Do It Again and Do It Right

Would you consider the audio edition of Theodore and Woodrow to be better than the print version?

no.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Theodore and Woodrow?

historical facts revealed and the way in which they affected the law.

Would you be willing to try another one of Scott Moore’s performances?

No.

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

In the first chapter, as one of the million of so lawyers in the U.S., Mr. Moore's lack of experience with the law as he tried reading a book about the most complex of issues in the Constitution, forcing me to mentally translate his irrelevant points of stress in a sentence in to what Judge Napolitano was trying to convey.

Any additional comments?

IF you could get Judge Napolitano, or at least someone familiar with constitutional law to read this book, I would buy it again. It is truly a great book. Judge Napolitano is trying to explain the most complex of legal concepts to the layperson. Ironically, my guess is that reader Moore as a layperson is the worst type to do this.<br/><br/>Ian A Schneider, counselor at law

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • d
  • 10-23-17

Enlightening and Frightening

Learn the valuable lessons of history our state run schools refuse to teach. Judge Napolitano explains how our nation (The United States) strays from the constitution and the dangers the straying poses to state sovereignty and individual liberty.

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problem with opinions

Loved the history and facts, had a problem with the author telling me the subject's intentions or opinion on some items

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ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!

A fascinating lesson of history. Great depth, encompassing the most relevant issues. A story well told.

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Judge is the man!

read all of his books. more must become knowledgeable of our history and law.

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Recommended audiobook

Would you listen to Theodore and Woodrow again? Why?

Well-narrated expose of the beginnings of the Progressive Movement that retained my interest from start to finish. Napolitano has a Reaganesque communication style that I really appreciate and enjoy.

What about Scott Moore’s performance did you like?

Just a well-narrated audiobook.

Any additional comments?

Constitutional conservatives (such as me) will certainly enjoy this book. So will Libertarians and Reagan Democrats.