Friday, January 16, 2009

1920 or Machiavellis Shadow

1920: The Year of the Six Presidents

Author: David Pietrusza

The presidential election of 1920 was one of the most dramatic ever. For the only time in the nation's history, six once-and-future presidents hoped to end up in the White House: Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Theodore Roosevelt. It was an election that saw unprecedented levels of publicity — the Republicans outspent the Democrats by 4 to 1 — and it was the first to garner extensive newspaper and newsreel coverage. It was also the first election in which women could vote. Meanwhile, the 1920 census showed that America had become an urban nation — automobiles, mass production, chain stores, and easy credit were transforming the economy and America was limbering up for the most spectacular decade of its history, the roaring '20s. Award-winning historian David Pietrusza's riveting new work presents a dazzling panorama of presidential personalities, ambitions, plots, and counterplots — a picture of modern America at the crossroads.

Publishers Weekly

Pietrusza's (Rothstein) chronicle of the presidential election of 1920 is absorbing, despite the subtitle's rather tangential claim that the election involved six men who had served or would serve as president: Harding, Wilson, Coolidge, Hoover and both Roosevelts (though Teddy had died in 1919). This book isn't really about them, nor is it merely the story of one electoral race. Rather, Pietrusza is telling a grander tale, of a country toppling into "modernity, or what passed for it." In 1920, the automobile had overtaken the horse, jazz and the fox-trot were replacing the camp meeting as popular entertainment, people were learning to buy on installment, and more and more of those fox-trotting shoppers lived in cities. Presidential candidates, for the first time, courted women voters. (Democrat Cox was divorced, which was expected to play badly with the fairer sex.) Both parties waffled on the so-called race question, seeking black votes while either tacitly or explicitly endorsing white supremacy. Given Harding's electoral victory and death during his term, Pietrusza could have devoted more space to the abiding importance of this election. All in all, Pietrusza has produced a broad, satisfying political and social history, in the style of Doris Kearns Goodwin. 16 pages of b&w illus. (Feb. 7) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Thomas J. Baldino - Library Journal

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, the United States did nothave six presidents in 1920. The author stretches the truth a bit to dramatize a historical anomaly: six men—a sitting president, former president, and four eventual presidents—competed in the 1920 presidential election. Actually, President Woodrow Wilson was physically incapacitated at the start of the year, and Theodore Roosevelt had died in 1919, but the legacies of both presidents shaped the 1920 election campaign. Pietrusza (Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series) sufficiently contends that this election marked the birth of modern American politics. Each of the main characters is introduced sequentially, with brief biographical information, beginning with Wilson and his failed attempt to have his League of Nations treaty adopted by the Senate, to TR and his split with Taft and the mainstream Republican Party, to Warren Harding, winner of the election, to Coolidge, Harding's vice president and successor upon death, to Hoover and finally FDR. Pietrusza wisely includes considerable information on Eugene Debs, the Socialist candidate that year. The many issues and forces that swirled during that time, from the fear of Communists and Socialists and the terrorism they allegedly perpetrated to technological advances and Prohibition, make for a fascinating and compelling tale of an often-overlooked election in our history. Highly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews

A rousing chronicle of the political year that saw six American presidents, past, present and future, vying simultaneously for high office. Poised between the administrations of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and the ensuing decade that would earn itself the qualifier "roaring," 1920 found Americans craving a pause, a return to the soothing "normalcy" of a bygone era. Who better fit the national mood than the thoroughly undistinguished Senator Warren G. Harding? After an intense primary season and many convention ballots, the Republican Party finally settled on the affable Ohioan and his law-and-order running-mate, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge, choices made easier by the sudden death of the beloved TR, himself eyeing a comeback, and the one man capable of disturbing the party's predilection for calm. Incumbent President Wilson, bedridden after a debilitating stroke, shed no tears over the death of his bitter enemy and unaccountably believed the Democratic Party would extend his discredited presidency by nominating him for an unprecedented third term. Instead, the party chose Ohio Governor James Cox, like Harding a former small-town newspaper editor, and for vice-president, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a charming fellow from New York, who came with the added advantage of that hallowed name Roosevelt: Franklin D. Only Herbert Hoover's seeming desire to be anointed rather than nominated (he refused to disclose his party affiliation) kept this internationally acclaimed humanitarian from being a bigger factor in the race. Other figures who helped shape the political battle-Eugene Debs, Hiram Johnson, Leonard Wood, William McAdoo, A. Mitchell Palmer, Nicholas MurrayButler, Alfred E. Smith-are highlighted as well. Pietrusza (Rothstein: The Life Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series, 2003) adds color and dimension with smart discussions of Prohibition, women's suffrage, immigration, civil rights, the League of Nations and labor strife, and he offers animated portraits of William Jennings Bryan, Carrie Chapman Catt, Henry Ford, Marcus Garvey, Sacco and Vanzetti, William Randolph Hearst, H.L. Mencken and many others. A hugely fascinating episode in American history, told with insight and great humor, by an author in command of his subject. Agent: Robert Wilson/Wilson Media

Table of Contents:

The Players in Our Drama     1
"Discover a Common Hate"     9
"Something Queer Was Happening"     26
"I Seem to Have Gone to Pieces"     36
"He Is the Only Candidate"     55
"A Turtle on a Log"     72
"I Am Governor of Massachusetts"     90
"He Is Certainly a Wonder"     105
"A Twentieth-Century Apollo"     122
"Criminal Intrigues Everywhere"     140
"Superior Biologic Values"     155
"The Funeral Bake Meats"     167
"A 'Safe' Kind of Liberal"     187
"Red Feathers, Tin Bears, and Cardboard Oranges"     201
"Warren Harding Is the Best of the Second-Raters"     224
"The Greatest Living Champion of Water"     242
"Convict No. 9653"     262
"A Gathering of Asteroids"     282
"A Mother's Advice Is Always Safest"     290
"Back to Normal"     311
"A Pretty Good Constitution"     331
"Wake up, Ethiopia!"     353
"Warren Gamaliel Harding Is Not a White Man"     369
"Perverts by Official Orders"     386
"It Was an Earthquake"     397
"Power Must Fail"     418
"Fear Itself"     435
Epilogue: "Malevolent Detachment"     439
Notes     455
Bibliography     527
Acknowledgments     543
Index     545

See also: Pratique de Virginia Real Estate et Loi

Machiavelli's Shadow: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove

Author: Paul Alexander

     Karl Rove has come to personify scorched earth political tactics and merciless, win-at-any-cost trickery. His status as the so-called architect behind Bush’s election victories has elevated him to a mythic kingmaker in the national imagination. Not since Mark Hanna, special assistant to President William McKinley, has someone not elected to public office played such a vital role in the governance of our nation.

     We know the myth, but who is the man? In Machiavelli's Shadow, the full, unvarnished truth about the mastermind of the Bush administration is revealed as swirling scandals and Karl Rove's diminished power have freed people to speak candidly as never before. Acclaimed author and veteran journalist Paul Alexander tracks Rove's journey from consummate outsider to presidential consigliere, conducting firsthand interviews with A-list sources who have never gone on the record about Rove before now. The result is a gripping, no-holds-barred account of the man whose insistence on politicizing any area on which he has advised the president—from the war in Iraq to domestic issues like Social Security, energy, the environment, and hotly controversial judicial matters—has brought about his own fall from grace and an escalating crisis within the government and the nation.

     Drawing on the author's extensive connections in the political arena and delving into all areas of Rove's life—political, business, psychological, and personal—this book stands as the definitive portrait of one of the most fascinating figures ever to emerge on the American political scene.

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