Monday, 30 January 2017

Woodrow Wilson: A Life from Beginning to End by Hourly History – Book Review

This is a short biography on the American war time president, Woodrow Wilson, often said as one of the greatest presidents to have occupied the Oval Office. I had known about Woodrow Wilson only for a few things; popular president, president during First World War and floated the idea of The League of Nations, and of course, a beneficiary of the Taft-Roosevelt struggle in the Republican Party.

The book starts with Wilson’s background; born in the Southern States with his father being a supporter of the Confederate regime during the American Civil War. It then goes on to talk about his academic accomplishments and his career as an academic and the reforms he introduced at the university now known as Princeton. It also talked about his progressive stance on various issues including his absolute belief in democracy and the need to liberate people (ironically, it took him a long time to support the women’s suffrage movement and endorse their right to vote). The book also talks about his family and how, during the days when he was ill, his wife, Edith had de facto (debated) control over the Oval Office. The book also touches upon how Wilson was forced into war, though; he was against war himself and talks about his forming of The League of Nations (where, ironically, US didn’t join because of Senate opposition).

I was glad that I picked up the book on Wilson so that I have some knowledge on the person touted to be one of the greatest presidents of US and I felt the book did a good job in summarising his entire life in a short biography (to be honest, it took me more than an hour). Wilson’s policies and convictions were brought out well during the book and the period of his sickness where the allegation of the First Lady running the government was also elaborated in fair detail.

My only possible problem with the book was the introduction; I believe the book was launched on 27th January, 2017 since that is the date I received it from Hourly History; however the book talked about potential of a woman becoming the President for the first time in 2016 election; seven days after Trump had taken the oath of office; the least that could have been done was to edit that part.

On the whole, for a detailed summary in a short book, I would award the book an eight on ten.

Rating – 8/10

Have a nice day,


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