|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
At a time when U.S. foreign policy and the country's role in the world are very much at issue, what could be more appropriate than to revisit the president who set U.S. foreign policy on its course in the 20th century? Brands, best-selling author and Pulitzer finalist for The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, gives a sober portrait of a president dedicated to peace yet compelled to enter a brutal war. Yet more than his actions, Brands says, it is Wilson's words that remain with us: "The world must be made safe for democracy." Brands writes elegiacally of Wilson's "beautiful words, soaring words, words moved a nation and enthralled a world, words that for a wonderful moment were more powerful than armies." Though recent events cast doubt on Brands's statement that Wilson's views ("idealism is sometimes the highest form of realism") have triumphed and that the U.S. concedes the U.N.'s "role at the center of world affairs," his contribution to the American Presidents series, edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger, is a stirring reminder of the ideals that underlie American policy.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Libraries unable to afford Arthur Link's multivolume biography of Wilson should consider this digestible precis from Brands, a proven success in popular-history writing over the past decade. He shows why Wilson is one of the most significant of American presidents, albeit one with a fluctuating reputation, through an efficient recitation of his governing acts that capped the Progressive Era. Generally accepted reforms such as the income tax or the Federal Reserve, however, are not what buffet Wilson's name; it was his induction of the U.S. into World War I and the transcendental rhetoric by which he did so. Whether naive or visionary, Wilson's idealism bespoke his character, which Brands lays before his reader: Wilson possessed inflexible fiber born of his religious convictions, although Brands counts him more flexible than ordinarily thought. Wilson failed in his aspiration to set international affairs on a foundation of principle rather than power. However, Brands ably underscores Wilson's ultimate success through his eloquence and his ideas in steering thought about foreign affairs toward a liberal alternative to Realpolitik. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
H.W.Brands has the capacity to write an insightful and interesting book. This effort contains a few pages of impressive work; most fall far short of what he can do. Read morePublished 19 days ago by B. Hedrick
For a brief biography, this offering has all of the essential events that were part of Wilson's life. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Timothy J Martin
First, I would not recommend this book if one wishes to learn even a sketch of Wilson's life and/or presidency. So much of what he accomplished is not mentioned at all. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Stinson E. Humphrey
The author did a pretty good job of stating what Wilson did and did not do, however, his personal opinion was missing. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dick Stauffer
Not too detailed. A great start for studying the roots of progressivism in the Democratic Party, and the issues that divide us to this day.Published 6 months ago by Shawn T. Perry
Excellent for a first-timer on Wilson. Maybe even others would like to learn about this not-so-famous president.Published 8 months ago by Craig
I read all the Biographies of the Presidents by way of the Presidential series. If you are going to do it, read John Hancock first because he was the first Continental Congress... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Frank Anderson