Herbert Hoover in the White House: The Ordeal of the Presidency

Charles Rappleye. Simon & Schuster, $32.50 (576p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4867-6
It’s no mean feat to bring a failed presidency and an unappealing character sympathetically to life while steering away from out-and-out revisionism and rehabilitation, but Rappleye (Robert Morris) skillfully succeeds at both tasks. His take on President Herbert Hoover and his administration doesn’t seek to change standard interpretations. In fact, it strengthens them, as he writes that Hoover’s White House days constituted “a failed presidency” and the man was “a nettlesome, idiosyncratic loner, peevish, restless, rarely at ease.” But Rappleye also confirms the conventional interpretation that Hoover did his best to halt the nation’s economic crisis as the 1929 stock market crash gave way to economic paralysis. Hoover’s insufficiently aggressive Reconstruction Finance Corporation nevertheless foreshadowed the 2008 TARP stimulus effort. Rappleye constructs a deft, filled-out portrait of the 31st president, one that captures as no one else has the political and economic snares that brought down Hoover’s single term and ruined his reputation forever. And while it would be impossible for Rappleye to present Hoover as a warm, gregarious, easygoing person, he does reveal a man dogged as much by circumstance as by personality. This is by far the best, most readable study of Hoover’s presidency to date. Agent: Paul Bresnick, Paul Bresnick Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
Release date: 05/10/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 560 pages - 978-1-4516-4869-0
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-1-4516-4868-3
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