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Herbert Hoover: Forgotten Progressive

3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Waveland Pr Inc; 1St Edition edition (December 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881337056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881337051
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,360,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Joan Hoff Wilson was one of the first revisionist historians to attempt a rehabilitation of Hoover's image. Using previously unavailable sources from the Hoover Presidential Library, Wilson delivers a comprehensive account of Hoover the man - not just Hoover the president. Wilson's main argument is that Hoover's Quaker morals underpinned all his actions as both an engineer and as president. From this vantage point, it is easier to understand the path of decisions that led Hoover to delayed action during the Great Depression and established his strong negative reputation among historians. The book itself, while conceptualized well, is executed poorly as overbearing jargon and relentless use of the passive voice muddle the early sections and reduce overall specificity. Don't try to read this in one setting.
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Format: Paperback
Joan Hoff Wilson's book attempts to explain the life of Herbert Hoover. From what Wilson says, at the time of the book's writing many new reports and papers on Herbert Hoover were being released. Wilson states that he believed the time to be right to reexamine Hoover now that several decades have passed after the public vilified him following 1929-1932. By publishing this book and other new information being released Wilson et al. hoped that historians would look at Hoover's record again and readjust his status in society. (He published this book in 1975).

To me Wilson wrote the book in an unorganized and jumbled manner. If you are using this book as a source of research you will find some interesting points and quotes that illustrate what he was like. However, a huge problem with this is that the author does not do any sort of internal citation and instead clumps his information all at the end of the book. This makes it nearly impossible to find where a particular fact came from concerning one of Wilson's sources. The book isn't really a biography of Hoover but instead an analysis of the man based off of copious research and newly issued papers. It discusses very little about his private life and instead talks about his public record. Even then, it talks more about how he went about doing things rather than what he actually did. When reading this book you are left wondering what the author tried to say about the man.
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Format: Paperback
This book is far superior to the only other biography of Hoover that I've found, by Eugene Lyons. That was a hagiography, intentionally designed to showcase all that was good about Hoover to offset the decades of character assassination that the author felt Hoover had suffered. Understandable, but not very helpful when trying to learn the truth about a historical figure. This one is much more even-handed, and if the writing style isn't wonderful, that puts it on a par with most biographies. No one will ever accuse Wilson of being on a par with David McCullough. The only real complaint that I have is that the bio was apparently written just as new material was being released from Hoover's files, and it would probably have been greatly improved by waiting a few more years to allow the new material to be adequately cataloged and sorted. I understand that the author had been working on it for years and wanted to finally get her work published, but it seems to me that a bit more patience would have allowed more information to be available.
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