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William McKinley (1843-1901) was president from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. He was the twenty-five president of the United States. McKinley was a strong governor of Ohio and a decisive president whose stern looks hid a thoughtful and gentle man. William McKinley was a Civil war veteran and a Lincoln Republican.
Phillip details how McKinley presided over the emergence of the United States as a world power in the Spanish-American war. McKinley’s election in 1890 ushered in approximately forty years of Republican political dominance.
Phillip points out that McKinley was one of eight presidents, who either in the White House or on the battlefield, led the nation in successful Wars; and he was among the six or seven to take office in what become recognized as a major realignment of the United States’ party system. McKinley was among the sixteen United States presidents elected to two terms, and avoided the tarnish of major scandal.
The author points out that McKinley was a “hinge president,” whose first term ushered in the 20th century, and who ‘presided over the fruition of the Northern or Yankee version of U.S. expansionism, a commercial manifest destiny tied to increasing American exports.’
In 1901 McKinley was assassinated by a deranged anarchist’. McKinley’s vice president Theodore Roosevelt took over the presidency and carried on McKinley’s moderate platform. Roosevelt’s charisma overshadowed McKinley over historical time.
This book is more of a political analysis of William McKinley rather than a biography as Phillips tell what other historians have written about McKinley and argues with many of them. The book is narrated by Richard Rohan.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
If you want a five-hour lecture about why McKinley is historically under-ranked as a president, this book is for you. If you are looking for a linear discussion of McKinley’s accomplishments, or just a coherent narrative, look elsewhere. The author assumes you’ve read other McKinley biographies and are well-versed in his life and presidency. It is only a value-add to the extent you want to revisit what you already know about McKinley with a more favorable lens. The author is argumentative and biased, and spends too much space speculating about what McKinley might have accomplished with two full terms. If you are looking to learn about the 25th president, don’t start here.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful