• Hoover

  • An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times
  • By: Kenneth Whyte
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 27 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (425 ratings)

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Hoover  By  cover art

Hoover

By: Kenneth Whyte
Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
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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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What listeners say about Hoover

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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.

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7 people found this helpful

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Must Read

I have read a lot of bibliographies of US presidents and this is one of the best. Well written, well researched and incisive. Also, well narrated.

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6 people found this helpful

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A Great Humanitarian

I was curious about Herbert Hoover. I had grown up with my parents' opinion, that Hoover was the cause of the Great Depression. My dad referred to it as "the Hoover Depression", and if we were out of a necessity, he would say my mom was "Hooverizing".
Hoover was a great humanitarian, who was responsible for feeding millions of people in Europe after WWI. He also saved millions of children in the Soviet Union, when the crops failed. So many other times he organized food deliveries to starving people.
Hoover, like most people, was a complicated person. I personally do not believe he deserved the blame for the Great Depression nor the ill-treatment by FDR.
I highly recommend this book. My husband, who is not a history major, enjoyed it, too.

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Must read

After listening to this book .... twice ... I had to also purchase a copy. I had no idea about Hoover’s life story and enormous contributions to this country. Like many other, I assume, my ideas about him were tied to the depression and largely negative. Anyone concerned about the current world/ country economic situation and the US role in managing both growth and distribution should read this book.

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Hoover

I learned a great deal about this man who certainly has earned a better place in the history of America than he has received.

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Historical Restoration

This book filled in most of the gaps in my knowledge of President Hoover who died when I was 12 in the same year as the death of the only grandparent I knew. The author sets out to provide a comprehensive life of Herbert Hoover and succeeded in large measure. All of the book is fascinating but the section concerning Hoover's presidential term and its aftermath was of particular interest. The substantial efforts that Hoover and his Administration made to mitigate the effects of the Depression come to light in this biography along with the efforts of Franklin Roosevelt and his Administration to denigrate Hoover at every turn. FDR comes across as a particularly vicious and manipulative character. It was only after his death that the genuine compassion of Herbert Hoover began to reemerge. Even a few years before Hoover's death, members of both parties began to recognize the extent of his contributions to his country and the world. The writing is clear and evenhanded, and the narration is outstanding in every respect. It was a joy to listen to the unfolding of the story of this remarkable life.

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Unexpectedly terrific

I’m working my way through the presidential biographies and was eager to get past this so I could read FDR. But what a delight this book was. I found Hoover very fascinating - at least before he became president - and the author does a solid job of presenting the man, both the good and bad. Well written and very well narrated. Five stars all around.

Now on to FDR!

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An insightful biography

This biography illuminates the many contributions of Hoover to the whole world from his extraordinary humanitarian efforts in famine and disaster relief through his laying of the groundwork for the recovery from the Great Depression. His massive contributions have been obscured by that economic downturn and the ascendency of FDR. A book well worth reading and a life that should be celebrated much more than it has been. Exceptionally researched and beautifully written.

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Excellent story telling and analysis

The book is a perfect balance between story telling and analysis. I came away with greater appreciation of President Hoover's career as a politician as well as a person. I especially appreciated the analysis of the Great Depression, something MSM doesn't seem to recount fairly even through today.

I would highly recommend this book.

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Hoover

A man of times, He wasn't all bad for he was he was a good person. But the democrats kept trying to destroy all he had done by making him look bad and going after everyone in his cabinets as corrupt.

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