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Josephus Daniels: His Life and Times Hardcover – May 1, 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


For those who study southern progressives and the Wilson administration Josephus Daniels will be an essential text.--The Journal of American History

Excellent. . . . Mr. Craig's judgments are fair, and his prose is clear, vigorous and free of jargon.--Wall Street Journal

The definitive biography.--Rocky Mount Telegram

A good biography of Daniels is long overdue, and North Carolina State University professor Lee A. Craig has filled that need.--StarNewsOnline.com

Superb. . . . Craig's effort is the one that will stand as the definitive account of Daniels' life. . . . A thoroughly researched work that will satisfy scholars and is also a cracking good yarn for the engaged reader.--Rob Christensen, Raleigh News and Observer

I am more than happy to recommend Craig's thought-provoking and meticulously researched biography to all those interested in the evolution of journalism, the growth of the U.S. Navy, the politics of the 'New South,' and the continuing influence of southerners in the national Democratic Party throughout the Progressive Era.--H-SHGAPE

There have been several biographies of Daniels. . . [but] none of them do as thorough a job as Craig. . . . Provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind and actions of a truly American newspaper editor, progressive businessman, politician, and incontrovertibly the most influential Secretary of the Navy in [the] 20th century.--Daybook

A compelling narrative that allows the reader to better understand Daniels's world, and still perceive the possibilities for a different American future that were foreclosed by his actions.--Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

Craig has produced an excellent book. . . . [He] writes gracefully, forcefully, with sly humor and appropriate criticism but humane tolerance of Daniels' many failings. The book covers all aspects of Daniels' multi-faceted life.--EH.Net

Craig's exhaustively researched and highly readable biography of a complicated and interesting man. . . . should be fascinating to the general reader. In Craig's hands, the story of a very complex man living in the tumult of war and depression becomes a clear and intriguing page-turner.--John Lehman, Washington Post

Ably-written. . . . Illuminates important aspects of Daniels' life. . . and provides a valuable understanding of why Daniels remains worth knowing.--Proceedings Magazine

An important contribution to the already rich discussion about the place of evangelicalism and Pentecostalism in American religious life.--Journal of Southern History

[An] excellent work--The Historian

A splendid biography.--The News & Observer

A first-rate biography.--North Carolina Historical Review


For scholars as well as for citizens with serious interest in history and journalism, Professor Craig's biography of Josephus Daniels opens windows of insight into key moments in American history: the rise of the white supremacist "redeemers" in the post-Reconstruction South, the presidencies of Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson, and the conduct and outcome of World War I. The book also tells the story of a fascinating, ambitious newspaper editor in politics.--Ferrel Guillory, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Recent political events have rekindled interest in the formative years of progressivism, in which Josephus Daniels played a large role--before, during and after his close relationship with Woodrow Wilson. Professor Craig's briskly written biography rescues from undeserved obscurity a Southern and national politician of great consequence and fascinating contradictions.--George F. Will


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1st edition, 1st printing edition (May 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146960695X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469606958
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good bio of a controversial editor here in Raleigh, NC. Turned the Raleigh News & Observer into the North Carolina paper. Played an important role in the Wilson presidential campaign and the Wilson Administration during WWI (sec of the Navy) was a mentor of FDR and served as Ambassador to Mexico during FDR's presidency. Book tries to provide histroric and economic context to Daniel's life, ides and decisions. Does not hide that he was an ardent segregationist but does not provide a lot of detail of his actions during the terror campaign to overthrow of the Progressive/Republican administration that supported Black rights at the end of the 19th century. The violemce in Wilmington as part of that campaign is detailed. Also the author gives Daniels rational for his segregationist views. Very well written book hard to put down once you start to read it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great biography. There is extensive detail about Josephus Daniels' life but more importantly for the general reader, this is also a sweeping history of the late 19th and first half 20th century North Carolina. Daniels' activities and motivations are set in a fascinating context and explained by the context. It is a story of a strong man living in a critical time in US history and his extensive influence during that time. The more controversial aspects of the times are presented in a remarkably unbiased manner, yet at the same time recognizing how some of the attitudes of the time are currently not acceptable. The author doesn't judge and doesn't justify, leaving the reader to decide how he/she feels about the more controversial aspects of the times and of Daniels' views and attitudes. People who are interested in Josephus Daniels and the newspaper business in general will love this book; but in addition, it is a "must read" for anyone interested in or studying that period of history in the South. There was a lot of work put into this book -- it shows and it is a serious and major contribution to the history of the era.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Besides being a very realistic biography of Josephus Daniels, who was my grandfather, this book has told me more about him than I ever could have learned otherwise. And it shows how a simple person, who did not have the voice or the sense of importance to run for public office, could accomplish important things through his editorials and assisting other politicians. This book has also helped me to understand that certain prejudices---like White Supremacy ---may simply be by-products of the time. Having grown up poor, Josephus Daniels stood up for the poor white farmers against the 19th--20th century Republicans and blacks. This book is about not just the prohibitionist who left us with Cup of Joe but all the international conflicts that preceded the ones we have today.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read this book and you will learn where having "a cuppa joe" came from. Daniels was also very important to getting public education in North Carolina.
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