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12+ Værker 784 Medlemmer 26 Anmeldelser 1 Favorited

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Richard Norton Smith is the director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas
Image credit: U.S. White House Biographical Photo

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This is a good biography of a difficult man to engage with emotionally. Herbert Hoover, 31st president of the United States, is perhaps somewhat unfairly blamed for the massive depression that befell his country on his watch, and he is certainly unfairly forgotten as one of the foremost forces for good in the amelioration of hunger in war-torn nations. But as a man and as a public figure, he is rather rightly thought of as being not a warm person, a determinedly practical man capable of advocating sometimes harsh policies and avoiding the human qualities that made his successor (and bitter rival) Franklin D. Roosevelt such a popular figure. Hoover's haughtiness hid a humanitarian spirit, but politically, he was averse to anything he did not define as pragmatic and advantageous for the conservative elements he served. Of course, in Hoover's day, conservatism had a strong progressive element woven throughout its American tapestry, and much of Hoover's inclinations would seem anathema to his party today. Yet, at heart, he was a true Republican, vigorously opposed to social programs that took the public welfare even partly out of the hands of the individual, and vehemently opposed to communism and anyone who did not oppose it as reactively as did he. Smith's biography is well-written, but on some occasions gets so wrapped up in intricacies of phrasing and the use of nicknames and presumably well-known (and thus undefined) facts that it becomes difficult to follow. What is most surprising about the book is that Hoover's presidency is over before the book reaches the end of its first third, so much of his life work post-dated his term in office. Of greatest interest, aside from detailing the wonderful work Hoover did saving Belgium from starvation during the first world war and doing the same for several other nations after the second, is probably the virulent rivalry and opposition between himself and FDR. Of equal interest is the surprising friendship that grew between Hoover and Roosevelt's successor, the Democrat Harry Truman. While not a remarkable book, this is a worthy and informative one.… (mere)
jumblejim | Aug 26, 2023 |
A well written, in depth biography of the only never elected President of the United States. While obviously a fan of the long time congressman from Grand Rapids, he is in no way a syncophant.
The author has a tendency to relate things from Ford’s presidency with our current political playing field in ways that do not always correspond. Otherwise I found this to be an great addition to the innumerable biographies of the U.S. chief executives.
wmnch2fam | Aug 16, 2023 |
Biography of the 3+ term governor of New York and influential public figure for decades. A fairly well-balanced book that shows the pluses and minuses of Rockefeller's style, and I am convinced that the author is right about the mistakes Rockefeller made in his presidential runs. It seems to me that he never really got as close as some people thought he did. A good read.
EricCostello | 15 andre anmeldelser | Nov 19, 2022 |



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