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Hoover by Kenneth Whyte
Oct 10, 2017 | 752 Pages
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    Oct 10, 2017 | 752 Pages

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“Summons us to see Hoover as a human personality, more than just a walking embodiment of Great Depression studies…. In the unceasing ideological quarrying of the American past, this great man and execrated president has proven himself useful again. To understand Hoover’s life, career, and his legacy in full, this rich new biography will certainly prove indispensable.” —David Frum, The Atlantic

“Monumental…. Important, and irresistibly interesting…. Whyte serves as a learned but inviting tour guide to this extraordinary life, bringing a fresh eye and fresh perspective…. [He] shows us a man of impatience, insensitivity and impolitic behaviour, though balanced with great confidence and competence…. Over all, the Hoover story—and the Whyte book—is a distinctly American tale: persistence, ambition, grand plans (all covered with a shellac wash of overweening pride and overwhelming arrogance), played out over five continents and marked by three economic crises. The result is an astonishing alchemy of soaring achievement and deep disappointment.” —David Shribman, Toronto Globe and Mail

“Hoover was doomed to be remembered as the man who was too rigidly conservative to react adeptly to the Depression, as the hapless foil to the great Franklin Roosevelt, and as the politician who managed to turn a Republican country into a Democratic one…. Hoover…helpfully lays out a long and copious résumé that doesn’t fit on this stamp of dismissal.” —Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker

“A thoughtful resurrection of a brilliant man who, aside from the Founding Fathers, did more good before taking office than any other president in American history.” Kirkus (starred review)
“A clear-eyed, sympathetic portrayal of the American president best remembered for his inability to pull the U.S. out of the Great Depression…. [He] doesn’t shy away from [the] seedier aspects of Hoover’s life, but nor is he judgmental…. With adept explanations of the Depression’s complexities and a refreshing sense of objectivity regarding Hoover’s approach to combatting it, Whyte portrays a figure to be neither pitied nor reviled, but better understood.” Publishers Weekly
“Often ranked as one of our worst presidents—his very name evokes Depression-era shantytowns—Hoover gets a reconsideration here that sweeps over his entire career… [Whyte] charts Hoover’s rise from childhood poverty to business mega-success, then reminds us of Hoover’s large-scale humanitarian works during World War I and after the 1927 Mississippi floods and his efforts (however thankless) to combat the Great Depression. And he was tasked by President Harry Truman himself with aiding European refugees after World War II, which not everyone knows. Get reading.” —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, Barbara’s Picks”


National Book Critics Circle Awards FINALIST 2017

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