Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character 1st Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 26 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0312268831
ISBN-10: 0312268831
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This admiring (indeed near-hagiographic) revisionist biography seeks to portray Grover ClevelandAthe only Democrat elected to the presidency between the Civil War and WWI-as a model of integrity and honor: "To compare Cleveland with our four most deplorable post-Harding presidentsANixon, Reagan, Bush, and ClintonAis to contrast a paradigm of virtue with the quintessence of duplicity." Brodsky, a historian and book critic for the Miami Herald and other papers, praises this Presbyterian minister's son for attacking corruption, cleaning up the civil service, enacting tariff and pension reforms and opposing the spoliation of the West by a land-grabbing clique of railroads, cattle barons and lumber companies. Yet Cleveland was basically a political and social conservative. Though he ran for president in 1884 as one who would challenge the power of monopolies and big business, once in office, he essentially served their interests. Cleveland called out federal troops to crush the Chicago Pullman strike in 1894 (12 were killed, 515 arrested). Brodsky lamely argues that Cleveland was sympathetic to the labor movement, but saw his primary duty as upholding the law, ensuring mail delivery and supporting interstate commerce. The author justifiably praises our 22nd/24th president as an anti-imperialist who refused to recognize a Hawaiian government set up largely by U.S. planters, yet he concedes that, in foreign affairs, Cleveland's achievements were insignificant. Cleveland may arguably have been the best president between Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, but that's not saying much, and this earnest if colorful biography fails to provide the kind of hard-nosed reassessment that might restore the luster to a president whose missteps severely weakened the Democratic Party for decades. Photos. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Grover Cleveland bought his way out of the Civil War draft, may have fathered an illegitimate daughter, and married someone 27 years his junior. Whereas some may see a theme in these events that helps explain his later conservative Victorian behavior, popular historian Brodsky (The Kings Depart; Madame Lunch & Friend) writes an old-fashioned political biography of America's 22d and 24th chief executiveDthe first major one in more than a half-century. He regards the split-term president as the nation's most underrated chief executive and the best of the eight who served between Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. In the short run, notes Brodsky, Cleveland lost public favor but lived long enough to regain it. On the other hand, his workaholic and inflexible style often undermined his effectiveness. Except for an occasional negative comparison to some recent contemporary presidents, this account is balanced, readable, and worthwhile. Recommended for public and academic libraries.DWilliam D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • Publisher : Truman Talley Books; 1st edition (September 11, 2000)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 512 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0312268831
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0312268831
  • Item Weight : 1.85 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.44 x 1.57 x 9.56 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.6 out of 5 stars 26 ratings

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