Herbert Hoover: A Life

Glen Jeansonne, with David Luhrssen. New American Library, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-1-101-99100-8
Drawing deeply on Hoover’s archives and previous biographies, Jeansonne (The Life of Herbert Hoover: Fighting Quaker, 1928–1933), emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, energetically paints a colorful, revisionist portrait of America’s oft-maligned 31st president. Jeansonne chronicles Hoover’s journey from his Iowa childhood through his years at Stanford, his stints as a successful mining engineer overseas, his humanitarian work helping American refugees stranded in Europe in the early days of WWI, and his election as president in 1928. Soon afterward, the American economy started its spiral into the years of the Great Depression. Rather than fashion a government bureaucracy that would remain in place after the crisis, Hoover supported decentralized programs that operated at a grassroots level. In spite of Hoover’s efforts, Jeansonne points out, political critics and the public blamed Hoover for the crash and the subsequent economic hardships, and he lost the 1932 presidential election to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Returning to his California home, Hoover was often mocked for his work in the White House, but between defeat and his death in October 1964, Hoover turned his attention to writing, political diplomacy, and humanitarian work. Jeansonne’s detailed account presents a novel vision of Hoover and his place in American life. Agent: Bridget Matzie, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/08/2016
Release date: 10/04/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-101-99102-2
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