The Approaching Storm: Roosevelt, Wilson, Addams, and Their Clash Over America’s Future

Neil Lanctot. Riverhead, $29 (672p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1059-2
Historian Lanctot (Campy: The Two Lives of Roy Campenella) delivers a fresh, character-driven look at the debate over America’s entry into WWI. He focuses on three “giants” of the Progressive Era, each of whom advocated a different course of action. Recognizing that most Americans didn’t want to get involved in European wars, President Woodrow Wilson established an official policy of neutrality in August 1914. Jane Addams, who enjoyed near-universal admiration for her innovative social welfare programs, promoted pacifism and organized an international peace conference in The Hague in April 1915. The following month, a German submarine sank the passenger ship Lusitania, killing 128 Americans. Support grew for the military preparedness advocated by former president Theodore Roosevelt, whose comeback bid (as nominee of the Progressive Party) against Wilson in the 1912 election had fallen short. After winning reelection in 1916, Wilson tried and failed to broker a peace deal, and finally asked Congress for a war declaration in April 1917. Lanctot smoothly toggles between his three main subjects and intriguing secondary characters including Hungarian suffragist and pacifist Rosika Schwimmer and American novelist James Norman Hall, who volunteered to fight with the British. The result is a rich and rewarding portrait of a crucial turning point in American history. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/02/2021
Release date: 10/26/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-7352-1061-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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