Synopses & Reviews
The first major biography of America’s twenty-eighth president in nearly two decades, from one of America’s foremost Woodrow Wilson scholars.
A Democrat who reclaimed the White House after sixteen years of Republican administrations, Wilson was a transformative president—he helped create the regulatory bodies and legislation that prefigured FDR’s New Deal and would prove central to governance through the early twenty-first century, including the Federal Reserve system and the Clayton Antitrust Act; he guided the nation through World War I; and, although his advocacy in favor of joining the League of Nations proved unsuccessful, he nonetheless established a new way of thinking about international relations that would carry America into the United Nations era. Yet Wilson also steadfastly resisted progress for civil rights, while his attorney general launched an aggressive attack on civil liberties.
Even as he reminds us of the foundational scope of Wilson’s domestic policy achievements, John Milton Cooper, Jr., reshapes our understanding of the man himself: his Wilson is warm and gracious—not at all the dour puritan of popular imagination. As the president of Princeton, his encounters with the often rancorous battles of academe prepared him for state and national politics. Just two years after he was elected governor of New Jersey, Wilson, now a leader in the progressive movement, won the Democratic presidential nomination and went on to defeat Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in one of the twentieth century’s most memorable presidential elections. Ever the professor, Wilson relied on the strength of his intellectual convictions and the power of reason to win over the American people.
John Milton Cooper, Jr., gives us a vigorous, lasting record of Wilson’s life and achievements. This is a long overdue, revelatory portrait of one of our most important presidents—particularly resonant now, as another president seeks to change the way government relates to the people and regulates the economy.
The first major biography of Woodrow Wilson in nearly twenty years, from America's leading Wilson scholar.
Woodrow Wilson was one of the most important presidents in American history: a Democrat who retook the White House after sixteen years of Republican administrations, he helped create many of the regulatory bodies that would prove central to governance in the twentieth century. He guided the nation through World War I, making the United States a world power for the first time. And though he lost the fight to bring the country into the League of Nations, he defined a new way of thinking about international relations that would bear fruit with the creation of the United Nations.
John Milton Cooper guides us through Wilson's personal and political worlds, bringing the man and his times to life. We see how Wilson cut his political teeth as president of Princeton and how he came virtually out of nowhere in 1912 to lead the Democrats to victory, applying his careful study of politics to his new office. We see him develop his vision for government and articulate it in tours around the country, speaking directly to the American people, which he believed was the best way to engender their most sustained, and sustaining, support.
A long overdue, revelatory portrait of one of our most transformative presidents.
From the Hardcover edition.
Evaluates the parallel worlds of the twenty-eighth president's personal and political arenas, examining his World War I leadership, his failed efforts to bring the United States into the League of Nations, and his contributions toward the creation of the United Nations.
In the first major biography of America's 28th president in nearly two decades, one of America's foremost presidential scholars gives readers a vigorous, lasting record of Wilson's life and achievements.
About the Author
John Milton Cooper, Jr., is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of Breaking the Heart of the World: Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations and The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, among other books. He was recently a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Table of Contents
Tommy -- Woodrow -- Professor -- Bold leader -- Academic civil war -- Governor -- Nominee -- The great campaign -- Preparation -- Beginnings -- Taken at the flood -- Triumph and tragedy -- Irony and gift of fate -- The shock of recognition -- Second flood tide -- To run again -- Peace and war -- Waging war -- Victory -- Covenant -- Peacemaking abroad and at home -- The League fight -- Disability -- Downfall -- Twilight.