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Woodrow Wilson : a biography
John Milton Cooper, Jr.
Adult Nonfiction E767 .C695 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

If we must have another presidential biography, best to have one of a figure who hasn't had his life written about at length for two decades. While the Wilson we find here differs little from the man we've known before, Cooper's new book is an authoritative, up-to-date study of the great president. Cooper (Breaking the Heart of the World), a noted Wilson expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offers balanced and judicious assessments of the life and career of one of the nation's most controversial leaders. From his youth in Virginia, through his years at Princeton, then as New Jersey governor and president, Wilson faced thickets of challenges, not all of which he managed effectively. At the end, sick and weakened, characteristically stubborn and moralistic, he notoriously failed to gain American membership in the League of Nations. Yet Cooper, while sympathetic to his subject-a visionary and Progressive reformer in domestic politics-fairly records Wilson's Southern racism along with his keen intellect and political acuity. Wilson would come to be, Cooper concludes, "one of the best remembered and argued over of all presidents." While not stemming any disputes, this book will please and inform all readers. 16 pages of photos. (Nov. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Cooper (history, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison; Breaking the Heart of the World), arguably our leading Wilson authority, offers a comprehensive, felicitously written biography aimed at scholars but accessible to general readers, too. As Cooper notes, this "schoolmaster in politics" transmitted his thoughts on paper-a habit helpful to historians. Cooper mines Wilson's letters as well as the archival materials of Wilson colleagues. He admires Wilson for his faith, learning, eloquence, and executive skill while conceding that he had to learn foreign policy on the job-yet established America as an international player. Cooper considers Wilson hard-headed, with limited goals (World War I concluded not with total victory but with an armistice to save as many lives as possible). Unlike other scholars, Cooper claims that the Virginia-born Wilson was not an "obsessed white supremacist" but that his collegial governing style allowed cabinet members to introduce segregation throughout the federal government. And while his attorneys general violated civil liberties both during and after wartime, Cooper claims that FDR's abuses were even worse. Verdict Highly recommended; readers are invited to wrestle with Cooper's favorable interpretation of Wilson's legacy and arrive at their own conclusions.-Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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