President McKinley: Architect of the American Century

Robert W. Merry. Simon & Schuster, $32.50 (624p) ISBN 978-1-4516-2544-8
William McKinley, 25th president of the U.S., is largely remembered for bringing his country into a war with Spain over Cuba, then three years later dying from Leon Czolgosz’s bullets. In this political biography, journalist Merry (Where They Stand) argues for an overdue reevaluation of McKinley, who has been eclipsed by his flamboyant successor, Theodore Roosevelt. According to Merry, McKinley was a man of focus and perception rather than grand vision—“cautious, methodical, a master of incrementalism”—who led the U.S. through its transformation into a global power. The native Ohioan fought for the Union during the Civil War, then studied law, set up his own practice, and became involved in local politics. The first third of the book might be slow going for readers not fascinated with the details of a fractured 19th-century Republican Party, tariff debates, and Ohio political minutiae. Yet Merry’s clear and nimble writing keeps the story moving along to McKinley’s White House years and the Spanish-American War. In shaping the war-ending Treaty of Paris of 1898, McKinley affirmed American imperialist ambitions, propelling the U.S. onto the world stage. By focusing on McKinley’s deliberate choices in dealing with Spain, Hawaii, and the Philippines, Merry convincingly portrays McKinley as a crucial actor in American imperialism. Illus. Agent: Philippa Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-1-4516-2545-5
Open Ebook - 624 pages - 978-1-4516-2546-2
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