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Herbert Hoover: The 31st President, 1929-1933 (American Presidents)

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Herbert Hoover: The 31st President, 1929-1933 (American Presidents) Cover

 

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Publisher Comments:

The Republican efficiency expert whose economic boosterism met its match in the Great Depression

Catapulted into national politics by his heroic campaigns to feed Europe during and after World War I, Herbert Hooveran engineer by trainingexemplified the economic optimism of the 1920s. As president, however, Hoover was sorely tested by Americas first crisis of the twentieth century: the Great Depression.

Renowned New Deal historian William E. Leuchtenburg demonstrates how Hoover was blinkered by his distrust of government and his belief that volunteerism would solve all social ills. As Leuchtenburg shows, Hoovers attempts to enlist the aid of private- sector leaders did little to mitigate the Depression, and he was routed from office by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. From his retirement at Stanford University, Hoover remained a vocal critic of the New Deal and big government until the end of his long life.

Leuchtenburg offers a frank, thoughtful portrait of this lifelong public servant, and shrewdly assesses Hoovers policies and legacy in the face of one of the darkest periods of American history.

William E. Leuchtenburg, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a noted authority on twentieth-century American history. A winner of both the Bancroft and Parkman prizes, he is the author of numerous books on the New Deal. In 2008, he was chosen as the first recipient of the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Award for Distinguished Writing in American History of Enduring Public Significance.

Herbert Hoover, the Republican efficiency expert whose economic boosterism met its match in the Great Depression, was first catapulted into national politics by his heroic campaigns to feed Europe during and after World War I. An engineer by training, he exemplified the economic optimism of the 1920s. As president, however, Hoover was sorely tested by Americas first crisis of the twentieth century: the Great Depression.

Renowned New Deal historian William E. Leuchtenburg demonstrates how Hoover was blinkered by his distrust of government and his belief that volunteerism would solve all social ills. As Leuchtenburg shows, Hoovers attempts to enlist the aid of private- sector leaders did little to mitigate the Depression, and he was routed from office by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. From his retirement at Stanford University, Hoover remained a vocal critic of the New Deal and big government until the end of his long life.

Leuchtenburg offers a frank, thoughtful portrait of this lifelong public servant, and shrewdly assesses Hoovers policies and legacy in the face of one of the darkest periods of American history.

"During the presidency of Herbert Hoover, Congress appropriated funds for the mothers of soldiers killed in World War I to go to Europe to visit their graves. The government then divided the women by race. 'White mothers sailed to Europe in style while black mothers whose sons had been killed in their country's service were assigned to "cattle ships."' This is from William E. Leuchtenburg's forthcoming Herbert Hoover, a wonderful and instructive biography."Richard Cohen, The Washington Post

"As historian William Leuchtenburg reminds us in his timely study of Hoovers life, the man who presided over the hardest of hard times in the early 1930s was, until that moment, one of the most admired figures in the world. It could and indeed should be said of Herbert Hoover that few people in the 20th century did more than he to save other human beings from starvation and deprivation. His work as a relief administrator during and after World War I earned him the title of the 'Great Humanitarian,' as well as the respect of muckraker Ira Tarbell, union organizer John L. Lewis and, wouldnt you know, an ambitious New Yorker named Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mr. Leuchtenburg writes of Hoovers efforts during the war, 'At its peak, his organization was feeding nine million Belgians and French a day . . . Under a "soupe scolaire" program, some two million children got a hot lunch of filling vegetable soup with white bread, and, thanks to Hoover, cocoa too' . . . Mr. Leuchtenburg, a prolific author best known for his studies of the Roosevelt administration and the New Deal, shows how Hoovers carefully constructed fictions left him unprepared for a catastrophe that should have seemed familiar. While he may have been an aloof know-it-all who made himself few friends in Washington (Mr. Leuchtenburg is persuasive on this score), Herbert Hoover understood something about human suffering, and not just from observation. Orphaned at age 10, separated from his two siblings and reared by a humorless uncle, Hoover was on far more intimate terms with despair and poverty than his future antagonist, Roosevelt, ever was. F.D.R. needed his wife, Eleanor, to show him how the other half lived; Hoover experienced it firsthand. Mr. Leuchtenberg notes that only once did Hoover refer publicly to his childhood, telling an interviewer in 1928, 'You see, I was always hungry then' . . . [A] slim but powerful study . . . Herbert Hoover is the latest in a series of short presidential biographies edited at first by the late Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and now by Princeton Universitys Sean Wilentz. Like the other books in the series, Mr. Leuchtenburgs biography reminds us that the personalities, actions and beliefs of political leaders have a profound effect on the rest of us. That concept, which may seem like common sense to most lay readers, is well nigh heretical among many academic historians. Presidential historians are a dying breed on campus today; graduate students are encouraged to examine the lives of the voicelessthe enslaved, women, the nonwhite poorrather than focus their research on politicians. In some ways, this is a necessary corrective to the Great Man narrative of old-fashioned history, but it doesnt bode well for those cable television programs that depend on academic drop-ins to provide gravitas and perspective. Mr. Leuchtenberg has been writing presidential history for more than a half-century, and he remains one of the finest interpreters of our nations past. His new book is a superb example of the vitality and importance of political history. What a shame, for all of us, that its also spot-on relevant."Terry Golway, The New York Observer

"Timely."The Bloomsbury Review

"As inhabitants of the United States suffer through an economic downturn reminiscent of the 1930s, a new biography of Herbert Hoover inevitably will remind readers of George W. Bush as he leaves the presidency riding waves of failure and mistrust. Hoover (1874-1964), like President Bush, was an interesting character to those who knew him well but a stereotyped buffoon to those who depended upon second-hand accounts. The new, vivid account of Hoover comes in a small packagean intentionally brief biography accompanying the 39 others (so far) in the American Presidents Series. Hoover's chronicler, William E. Leuchtenburg, is a retired University of North Carolina history professor who writes like an angel and spices his narrative with trenchant judgments about a president who seemed like Superman when he took office in 1929 but who quickly lost his magical powers in the face of the Great Depression . . . According to Leuchtenburg, Hoover might have failed as a president even if blessed with first-rate economic conditions. He

Review:

"Herbert Hoover (1874 — 1964) would have satisfied anyone who believed a businessman would make an ideal president. In this outstanding addition to the American President series, Bancroft Prize — winning historian Leuchtenburg (The FDR Years) points out that while writers describe Hoover as a mining engineer, he was really a promoter and financier who traveled the world and made a fortune. He vaulted to fame after brilliantly organizing relief for the Belgian famine during WWI. Appointed secretary of commerce in 1920, he operated with a dictatorial manner that infuriated colleagues, but his dynamism and popularity made him a shoo-in for the Republican nomination in 1928. As president, his political ineptitude offended Congress and discouraged supporters even before the 1929 crash. Afterward, he backed imaginative programs to stimulate the economy but insisted that direct relief was socialistic and that local governments and charities were doing fine. In fact, they weren't, and this insistence combined with a dour personality made him a widely hated figure. A veteran historian of this period, Leuchtenburg brings vivid prose and strong opinions to this richly insightful biography of a president whose impressive business acumen served him poorly." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The Republican efficiency expert whose economic boosterism met its match in the Great Depression

Catapulted into national politics by his heroic campaigns to feed Europe during and after World War I, Herbert Hoover—an engineer by training—exemplified the economic optimism of the 1920s. As president, however, Hoover was sorely tested by Americas first crisis of the twentieth century: the Great Depression.

Renowned New Deal historian William E. Leuchtenburg demonstrates how Hoover was blinkered by his distrust of government and his belief that volunteerism would solve all social ills. As Leuchtenburg shows, Hoovers attempts to enlist the aid of private- sector leaders did little to mitigate the Depression, and he was routed from office by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. From his retirement at Stanford University, Hoover remained a vocal critic of the New Deal and big government until the end of his long life.

Leuchtenburg offers a frank, thoughtful portrait of this lifelong public servant, and shrewdly assesses Hoovers policies and legacy in the face of one of the darkest periods of American history.

About the Author

William E. Leuchtenburg, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a noted authority on twentieth-century American history. A winner of both the Bancroft and Parkman prizes, he is the author of numerous books on the New Deal. In 2008, he was chosen as the first recipient of the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Award for Distinguished Writing in American History of Enduring Public Significance.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805069587
Subtitle:
The American Presidents Series: The 31st President, 1929-1933
Author:
Leuchtenburg, William E.
Editor:
Wilentz, Sean
Editor:
Schlesinger, Arthur M.; Wilentz, Sean
Editor:
Schlesinger, Arthur Meier, Jr.
Author:
Wilentz, Sean
Author:
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Author:
Schlesinger, Arthur M., JR.
Author:
Schlesinger, Arthur M.
Publisher:
Times Books
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Presidents & Heads of State
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
Hoover, Herbert
Subject:
Biography-Presidents and Heads of State
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Edition Description:
Times
Series:
American Presidents
Publication Date:
20090106
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 bandw frontispiece
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.39 x 5.94 x 0.8 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Presidents and Heads of State
History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Hoover, Herbert

Herbert Hoover: The 31st President, 1929-1933 (American Presidents) New Hardcover
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Product details 208 pages Times Books - English 9780805069587 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Herbert Hoover (1874 — 1964) would have satisfied anyone who believed a businessman would make an ideal president. In this outstanding addition to the American President series, Bancroft Prize — winning historian Leuchtenburg (The FDR Years) points out that while writers describe Hoover as a mining engineer, he was really a promoter and financier who traveled the world and made a fortune. He vaulted to fame after brilliantly organizing relief for the Belgian famine during WWI. Appointed secretary of commerce in 1920, he operated with a dictatorial manner that infuriated colleagues, but his dynamism and popularity made him a shoo-in for the Republican nomination in 1928. As president, his political ineptitude offended Congress and discouraged supporters even before the 1929 crash. Afterward, he backed imaginative programs to stimulate the economy but insisted that direct relief was socialistic and that local governments and charities were doing fine. In fact, they weren't, and this insistence combined with a dour personality made him a widely hated figure. A veteran historian of this period, Leuchtenburg brings vivid prose and strong opinions to this richly insightful biography of a president whose impressive business acumen served him poorly." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

The Republican efficiency expert whose economic boosterism met its match in the Great Depression

Catapulted into national politics by his heroic campaigns to feed Europe during and after World War I, Herbert Hoover—an engineer by training—exemplified the economic optimism of the 1920s. As president, however, Hoover was sorely tested by Americas first crisis of the twentieth century: the Great Depression.

Renowned New Deal historian William E. Leuchtenburg demonstrates how Hoover was blinkered by his distrust of government and his belief that volunteerism would solve all social ills. As Leuchtenburg shows, Hoovers attempts to enlist the aid of private- sector leaders did little to mitigate the Depression, and he was routed from office by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. From his retirement at Stanford University, Hoover remained a vocal critic of the New Deal and big government until the end of his long life.

Leuchtenburg offers a frank, thoughtful portrait of this lifelong public servant, and shrewdly assesses Hoovers policies and legacy in the face of one of the darkest periods of American history.

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