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

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0700615643
ISBN-10: 0700615644
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"At long last, the 1912 election has the history it deserves. A splendid book." -- John Milton Cooper, Jr.

"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

"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

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: #146,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lewis J. Gould begins his retelling of the story of the US Presidential Election of 1912 with a criticism of previous histories and the promise of new insight, based on his thorough review of source material. This book is certainly well researched and well sourced, but this recounting and analysis of the Presidential election held a century ago doesn't reveal any startling new information or conclusions. Those who know the result of the election know that a split in the Republican party enabled the Democrats to win the 1912 election with the same amount of support that they had lost previous elections with, and that is indeed what happens. Still, it's a very interesting accounting of hope the Republican presidential dynasty that began in 1896 was divided and conquered by a professorial newcomer.

The four hats in the ring that the author speaks of belong to incumbent President William Howard Taft, his predecessor and mentor Theodore Roosevelt, Democratic up and comer Woodrow Wilson, and perennial Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs. Taft, who had been anointed as Roosevelt's successor in 1908, has disappointed his mentor by adopting conservative policies over progressive ones, by having a conflicting opinion to Roosevelt on the efficacy of tariffs, and by aggressively prosecuting monopolistic big business. Roosevelt wants to curtail the power of judges who render unpopular opinions, while Taft is a strong supporter of judicial independence. At first Roosevelt is coy about whether or not he will support Taft's bid for re-election, causing Taft to shore up his internal party support so that by the time Roosevelt challenges Taft for the Republican nomination for President, Taft is able to win the battles for delegates and secure the nomination for re-election at the party convention.
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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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Format: Hardcover
How it's possible to make any story involving Theodore Roosevelt this boring is impossible to comprehend, but this book manages it. Don't waste you money on this one.
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