Marks54's Reviews > Woodrow Wilson: A Biography

Woodrow Wilson by John Milton Cooper Jr.
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Sep 19, 12

Read in September, 2010

This was a really fine biography, although I am not sure how much I like Wilson after reading it. I started reading this when I heard some fairly extreme pundits starting to trash Wilson. I realized that while I did not wish to agree with the pundit, I was not as informed about Wilson as I thought I was. I had read the most about his diplomacy, especially his role in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the his failures around the League of Nations. I was much less aware of his background, his importance as a political scientist and academic administrator (President of Princeton), and as a politician (Governor of New Jersey). What was most surprising was the speed of his rise from being President of Princeton to being President of the US. The book is very informative, especially about the Progressive era and the national politics that permitted Wilson to become elected President in 1912. Cooper's treatment is superb throughout, including the wars years and the peace conference. Cooper also has a measured view of Wilson, which while generally positive also recognizes Wilson's numerous limitations. Overall, this was an amazingly effective President who really influenced the country and the world, although not always for the better. Another realization from the book is how much the world has changed since Wilson's time. He -- or any other academic - would have a hard time getting elected today and the modern media has no doubt thoroughly changed how political life is conducted.

The book is well written and easy to follow for a thorough and critical biography. It is not the easiest read to get through but is well worth the effort to push to the finish.
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