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The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism Kindle Edition
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|Length: 929 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Bully Pulpit" clocks in at a hefty 928 pages in the hardcover edition, the reason why I chose the e-book version, and is lavishly illustrated. Each chapter starts with a contemporary photograph or cartoon beneath the chapter-title, and there's a separate photograph-section at the back of the e-book that has 68 photographs. Although a massive tome, it should be noted that "only" about 56% of the book consists of the main narrative. The rest of the volume is taken up by the extensive endnotes and index.
Rather than write another biography about a famous American President, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin has chosen for a different approach. In "The Bully Pulpit", she recounts the birth of America's Progressive Era through the close friendship between two Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt and his successor William Howard Taft. But rather than focusing exclusively on these two, she enlivens her account by twisting through the narrative the story of the "muckrakers" (another term coined by TR): the group of investigative journalists from magazine McClure's.Read more ›
You will read about the friendship & common cause between two Republican comrades that wish to reform and clean up corruption in politics. William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt both emerge as Progressive Republicans and soon become friends. Taft came from a privileged back ground as well, but had a mild manner wishing to please family versus Teddy's driven ambition to confront and change America. Roosevelt brings Taft along as his Secretary of war then supports him as his successor.
Ms. Goodwin has cleverly developed the story of these two men by showing the path of Taft as President to push congress to reform big business through regulatory amendments and measures to enforce them, while Roosevelt who regretted not pursuing another term wishes to take action on child labor and women's work issues.Read more ›
The book is extremely long, so if you're short of attention span, consider that. I prefer richly detailed narrative (as long as it's not aimless or wandering) rather than glossing over things to shorten a book up, so the fact that this took me 6 weeks to read was no problem for me. (It is exhaustively end-noted, by the way, for those interested. When you finish the book's main pages, you will be only at 56% through on the Kindle's progress meter.) Like many readers, I have previously read a T.R. biography or two, but I did not find this book repetitive or redundant to those, given its angle on T.R.'s career and given all the Taft and McClure's content. Really a master work, and a great read that lets you lose yourself in the turn-of-the-century era for quite awhile.
The research is extensive, the notes on primary sources exhaustive, the writing style is, as with all her work, excellent, but the book is too much. I can't help but think of a George Harrison song, Long Long Long.
The first one hundred fifty pages are bios of TR and Taft, and their families. There is nothing new here. There have been so many works on Roosevelt, and I felt that Edmund Morris covered his early years best in The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library Paperbacks). While the information is good, it is too much.
The writing concerning the "golden age of journalism" is good and an important part of the story of our nation's reform from more than one hundred years ago.
The relationship between Taft and TR is the most interesting of the book, and that part moved quickly, and the differences in style and personality are nicely portrayed, but the inclusion of so many things from the journalism side just cluttered up the work. The book would have been less cumbersome and more interesting if the focus had been on the two men, with the journalism portion given only a supporting role.
In the end, the split between the two great men ushered Woodrow Wilson into the White House. We are all left to speculate what changes in the outcome of the Great War would have occurred had TR been in the White House when the Germans went through Belgium in August, 1914.
The book is a good read, but not in the magnitude of her last work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although this biography does not cover the most intimate details of the lives of Taft, Roosevelt and the muckrakers, it illuminated the 1890s and 1900s like no other work of... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Law Lady
This is a long book with the collection of photographs at the end and a slew of footnotes. I listened to it in the audible format. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Larry Bassett
Having read other books about Theo. Roosevelt I found I could not put this down. The role of the press in shaping American policies and political and how T.R. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
Anything that Doris Kearns Goodwin writes is worth reading. This is another example. Although I wasn't initially drawn to the subject matter, I have such respect for the author... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Daniel L. Anderson
Fascinating and detailed history of TR, Taft and journalism in their time as it related to the robber barons and the working g classPublished 22 days ago by Molly Roberts
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