Tony's Reviews > Woodrow Wilson: A Biography

Woodrow Wilson by John Milton Cooper Jr.
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's review
Nov 03, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: presidents, top-10-2009

Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, a wonderful work of scholarship, is aptly subtitled. Cooper focuses on Wilson's entire life and seems determined to get that story just right. Thus, the author picks no fights in this cautious tale. Mostly, I found that refreshing. Cooper is clearly a fan of Wilson's, but no apologist. Thus, he doesn't minimize Wilson's racial attitudes and fairly places the blame for the WWI Treaty's American failure at Wilson's doorstep.

Cooper is much taken with Wilson's oratorical and writing skills and even gushes a bit comparing Wilson to Lincoln. Sorry. Lincoln's speeches and writing continue to move me. Wilson's really don't. Cooper didn't convince me otherwise.

In the great presidential campaign of 1912, Cooper ventures a little bit into a comparative analysis of the philosophical growth of Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. I would have liked even more of this because the abbreviated version here was not entirely convincing. (Cooper has also written a comparative dual biography of the two presidents and contemporary opponents).

Finally, whether or not you are an admirer of Wilson's (I'm not), this biography is not likely to change your mind. Nevertheless, it was a fascinating and worthy read.
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