The Improbable Wendell Willkie

The Businessman Who Saved the Republican Party and His Country, and Conceived a New World Order
Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the wake of one of the most tumultuous conventions in Republican history, the party of Lincoln nominated in 1940 a prominent businessman and Wall Street attorney for president. Though Wendell Willkie would lose to FDR, David Levering Lewis reveals in this news-making reclamation that the story of this Hoosier-born corporate chairman's life is the story of an America that could have been. Popular for his down-home Midwestern charm and unaffected candor, Willkie possessed a supple intellect and a concealed disdain for political opportunism that, had he not died prematurely, would have revolutionized American politics with its advocacy of bipartisanship and social responsibility. Not only was he the first presidential candidate to speak before the NAACP, advocating a civil rights movement in the 1940s, but Willkie also bucked American isolationism and became the first to champion the nation's involvement in international politics. Vibrantly recounted, The Improbable Wendell Willkie affirms the legacy of an American icon.

©2018 David Levering Lewis (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Compelling

Wendell Willkie ran against FDR in the 1940 election and, of course, lost. Professor Lewis provides a new biography of Willkie. I think that what is going on in the country today pointed out some key items about Willkie that might have gone unnoticed in the prior biographies. Willkie is noted for putting the country before party. He also advocated what he called Responsible Bipartisanism.

The book is well written and researched. Lewis brings out the character of Willkie. Lewis is able to reveal Willkie’s life against the background of United States history. The author shows how Willkie was dedicated to Civil Rights and opposed racism. Lewis reveals Willkie’s work with the NAACP. The book appears to be balanced and reveals more about the man than prior biographies. I found this a most fascinating biography and learned a great deal from it.

Paul Levering Lewis is Professor of History at New York University. Lewis won two Pulitzer Prizes for vol. one and two of the biography of W. E. B. DuBois.

The book is twelve hours and forty-eight minutes. Mike Chamberlain does a good job narrating the book. Chamberlain is an actor and voiceover artist.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Frequent errors are a concern.

The story is very interesting and moves quickly. Frequent errors are a concern. Consistently referring to North Dakota Senator Gerald Nye as representing South Dakota draws many facts into question.

1 person found this helpful

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A condensed account of the life of Wendell Wilkie

Wendell Wilkie had an interesting life and the author does a noble job of condemning it all into a short book. He is skilled in dense writing. Sadly he offers very little detail that helps one understand who WW really was or what motivated him. I found the book unsatisfying, though well intended.