Four Hats in the Ring: The 1912 Election and the Birth of Modern American Politics (American Presidential Elections)

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ISBN-13: 978-0700615643
ISBN-10: 0700615644
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This shrewdly argued and beautifully crafted volume illuminates the enduring significance of the 1912 race. The best book ever written about one of the more intelligent campaigns in U.S. history." Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan "The best informed and most trenchant study of this election yet published. Fluent, lucid, authoritative, it resounds with the politics of the Progressive era." John Morton Blum, author of The Republican Roosevelt "At long last, the 1912 election has the history it deserves. A splendid book." John Milton Cooper, Jr., author of The Warrior and the Priest: Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson"

From the Back Cover

"This shrewdly argued and beautifully crafted volume illuminates the enduring significance of the 1912 race. The best book ever written about one of the more intelligent campaigns in U.S. history."--Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

"The best informed and most trenchant study of this election yet published. Fluent, lucid, authoritative, it resounds with the politics of the Progressive era."--John Morton Blum, author of The Republican Roosevelt

"At long last, the 1912 election has the history it deserves. A splendid book."--John Milton Cooper, Jr., author of The Warrior and the Priest: Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson

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Product Details

  • Series: American Presidential Elections
  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (April 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700615644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700615643
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
All in all, if you want a good but short account of the 1912 election, this book is for you.

Gould makes a few odd remarks. He twice states that Taft's absence from the California ballot ensured that TR would carry the state even without Hiram Johnson as his running mate, though his plurality of only 174 (out of some 600,000 votes cast) makes it clear enough that his win there was far from assured. But that's a nitpick. The book contains much interesting and useful information, notably the results of the Democratic Primaries, which are often overshadowed by all the sound and fury on the Republican side, though more was probably at stake in the Democratic races.

Gould brings up some aspects of 1912 which are often overlooked, in particular that it aroused far more passion among political activists on all sides than among the public at large. Not only was turnout sharply down in percentage terms - 58.8 as against 65.5 in 1908 - but only the fact that half a dozen states had doubled their electorates by granting women the vote would prevent the absolute numbers from also going down. There was also a remarkable discrepancy between the presidential and congressional votes. Of the 19.5 million who took part, no less than 4.5 million (almost one in four)' ignored the Presidential race and were content to just vote for or against their local congressman.

He also brings over vividly just what a long shot Roosevelt's insurgency was, and questions the common assumption that had he won the nomination he would have gone on to win in November. Indeed, the amount of time TR spent down South, in pursuit of (white) votes there suggests that he himself was rather clutching at straws.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on December 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have to disagree with the first two reviewers. The author made this a fascinating read in how Wilson won and Taft, Debs, and Roosevelt were the losers. Even before going into the election, Wilson had it sown up. Roosevelt and Taft split the Republican vote. The Republicans consisted of a Progressive wing and a conservative wing. Taft led the conservative wing and Roosevelt went on to form a Progressive Party out of the liberal wing of the Republican Party. Wilson could count on the solid South and various other states thereby meeting the electoral requirements of winning the election. The solid South consisted of whites who didn't let the black population vote, and Wilson gladly accepted this support. This doesn't show the Democratic Party in its best light. Due to this Wilson won, Taft and Roosevelt lost. I was impressed with both Taft and Roosevelt. When shown written evidence of how Wilson cheated on his wife, both did not sink to the level of using this evidence. Taft was civil throughout the campaign. He knew he was going to lose.

This is a nice short read on an interesting campaign. I think the author put some time in describing the four major candidates and parties, and how they game planed the election. A very interesting read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Adducchio on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read a few books about the election of 1912. I really enjoyed this one. It is well-written, well-researched, fairly objective, and never bored me. However, some of the concepts could have been explained in greater detail. Debs isn't discussed as much as the other candidates. To be fair, Debs was covered the least in the media at that time, but still, it would have been better to have Debs discussed more in the book. I enjoyed it and recommend it to readers who enjoy studying the political process.
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Four Hats in the Ring: The 1912 Election and the Birth of Modern American Politics (American Presidential Elections)
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