Another fabulous book by Doris Kearns Goodwin! This time, she takes the reader through the tumultuous years of the Progressive Era at the beginning of...moreAnother fabulous book by Doris Kearns Goodwin! This time, she takes the reader through the tumultuous years of the Progressive Era at the beginning of the 20th century. At the center of the storm is the irrepressible Theodore Roosevelt. Yet, I was intrigued, not by the story of Roosevelt, but of William Howard Taft. Knowing little about Taft, I was deeply impressed by his political and judicial achievements, as well as his personal character. Coming down through history, he has been seen as a portly, well-meaning bungler (this view ironically propagated by Roosevelt himself). I think Taft's only real fault was that he was the wrong President for the times.
Another fascinating topic that was covered was the rise of progressive/muckraker journalism which did much in the raising of public awareness of big business corruption, unhealthy working conditions, and high tariffs. Leading the charge was magazine editor Sam McClure and his idealistic staff of writers such as Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White. It was also interesting to see how Roosevelt used and worked with the journalists of his day to promote his own progressive policies.
If you're sick of today's do-nothing government and the dubious work of the media, this book is a refreshing reminder that people of differing political views can work together to affect change.(less)
This book proved to be more than just a dual biography of assassin and presidental victim. Scott Miller manages to run the gambit of personalities and...moreThis book proved to be more than just a dual biography of assassin and presidental victim. Scott Miller manages to run the gambit of personalities and events that captured the nation's attention during the turn of the century: the zealous machinations of Theodore Roosevelt and the Spanish-American War; the equally zealous efforts of Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Albert Parsons, and other anarchists trying to destabilize the government; Commodore George Dewey and his lopsided naval victory in Manila Bay; the Haymarket Square riot and other violence due to labor unrest. And through it all, we follow the paths of William McKinley and Leon Czolgosz and their intersection in Buffalo, NY.(less)
On November 28, 1895, six horseless carriages gathered in snow-covered Chicago to participate in America’s first automobile race. Sponsored by The Chi...moreOn November 28, 1895, six horseless carriages gathered in snow-covered Chicago to participate in America’s first automobile race. Sponsored by The Chicago Times-Herald, the 52 mile race was to prove that these new-fangled contraptions were far superior to the conventional horse and carriage.
Things didn’t start off very promising though when three of the six carriages broke down only miles from the starting line. The race would come down to three men and their machines: Oscar Mueller, Jerry O’Conner, and Frank Duryea; the winner having an opportunity to mass-produce and sell their carriage design. However, with bad weather, malfunctioning machinery, and the clocking ticking, the possibility that anyone could actually complete the race was slim.
This is an excellent book for young car racing buffs! In addition, the sepia-toned illustrations are wonderfully done by the author. (less)
After reading this, I was amazed at just how little I knew about the events preceding America's entry into World War II. I had known there was an isol...moreAfter reading this, I was amazed at just how little I knew about the events preceding America's entry into World War II. I had known there was an isolationist element at work, and that Lindbergh was the poster child for the cause. However, I didn't realize just how strong the isolationists were, and how the United States came very close to letting Great Britain fall to the Nazis.
I was also surprised by FDR's seeming lack of leadership during this time. I suppose like a lot of people, I had been led to believe that Roosevelt was this strong, self-assured man who rallied our country when Great Britain looked to us for aid. But with his eyes on the polls, he dithered around and took only half measures until it was almost too late. The author conjectures that had not Germany declared war on the United States after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, America would not have entered into the European theater at all, leaving Great Britain and the Soviet Union to fend for themselves while the U.S. went after Japan.
And then there was Charles Lindbergh. The book portrays him as politically naive and devoid of emotion when it came to the debate over the war. He looked at things analytically and determined that it was not in America's best interest to oppose Germany. Even the news of Nazi atrocities could not persuade Limbergh to give up his isolationist leanings. Ironically, Limbergh did enter the war in the Pacific as a pilot, unbeknownst to Roosevelt who refused to allow him to reenter the military because of his views. (less)
Being a history nerd, particularly when it comes to the Civil War era, I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of the "Oberlin-Wellington Rescue" u...moreBeing a history nerd, particularly when it comes to the Civil War era, I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of the "Oberlin-Wellington Rescue" until I read this book. I found the story to be inspiring and the illustations fantastic!
This is a story about a town (Oberlin, OH to be exact) who collectively stood up against the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, believing that there was a "higher law" that trumped it.
Escaped slave John Price had been living in Oberlin for two years when a slave hunter comes calling and captures him. The response by the people of Oberlin is incredible. But you'll have to read the book to find out what happens. No spoilers here!(less)