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Four Hats in the Ring: The 1912 Election and the Birth of Modern American Politics (American Presidential Elections)
Imagine a presidential election with four well-qualified and distinguished candidates and a serious debate over the future of the nation! Sound impossible in this era of attack ads and strident partisanship? It happened nearly a century ago in 1912, when incumbent Republican William Howard Taft, former president Theodore Roosevelt running as the Progressive Party candidate ...more
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published April 9th 2008 by University Press of Kansas
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Informative but by no means authoritative text on the 1912 election. Gould goes into a lot of detail about the backgrounds and processes of each of the four candidate's campaigns, but there is a lack of solid editing and a coherent narrative (reads like a dissertation that's been rearranged into book form). I think it works best as a way of introducing what happened in 1912 to someone already interested in the topic and planning to do more research later on.
This was a slow read for me. Gould manages in the title to excite and entice the reader; the title hints at the drama and controversy around the election of 1912, but the text of the book falls flat. There are flashes of interesting events, some good quotes that lend some insight into each of the four candidates, but Gould takes all the excitement and drama out of the contest. True, the election itself was a foregone conclusion for some, but the election itself changed how campaigns were organiz ...more
Very interesting coverage of an important election. The rabid partisanship among supporters that underscored the distracted indifference of so many voters sounds quite familiar. The divisions within the GOP are even more fascinating in the context of the GOP primaries since 1964 and the recent split between libertarian Republicans and traditional conservatives in the party. TR and Debs would be supporting Senator Bernie Sanders most likely. The downfall of this book is that it points to how the ...more
Enjoyed this book on a very important time in American history. The first two "progressives" in the American political scene front and center in this election: T.R. and Wilson. Both evil in my mind since they wanted to move away from limited government to a central and powerful political state. As true with most periods of history there were no pure true heroes, but Taft comes across as the lessor of evils. The 1912 election was probably the last election where the tariff was an important issue.
Feb 15, 2016 Bruinrefugee rated it really liked it
A concise, enjoyable breakdown of the 1912 presidential elections where the U.S. really reaches a sort of fracture point between the traditional constitutional order and its various critics. Sometimes it seems to go out of its way to avoid fully relating certain unsavory facts re: the candidates, but overall a strong effort.
Gave it four stars because I like any book that tells the story of presidential elections. Thought it was a little dry at times and maybe gave too much voice to the Socialists. It also gave me more insight into the real Teddy who everybody loves but don't really know him.
One of the University of Kansas series on pivotal presidential election campaigns, one of that university press's area of specialization.
Fairly solid academic overview of the 1912 presidential campaign. Covers the insurgent candidacies of Teddy Roosevelt and Eugene Debs well.
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American Presidential Elections (1 - 10 of 17 books)