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I thought that this book was extremely well written. I also thought that Jeremy Bobb did an superb job with the narration. The biggest problem I had with the book is that Professor Berg has produced a volume that deifies President Wilson too much and is not critical enough of his shortcomings both as a person and as a world leader. Throughout the book Berg gives short shift to Wilson's weaknesses (his unwillingness to forgive people whom he felt betrayed him, his pure enmity for Henry Cabot Lodge with regard to the Versailles treaty and the racism that came from his Southern roots) while spending way too much time on the good that he accomplished (his Progressive Agenda and his willingness to try to avoid US involvement in World War I until Imperial Germany pushed him too far). In writing this book Berg indicated that he had access to previously unreleased materials (i.e. the letters of one of Wilson's daughters and the letters of Dr. Grayson who was Wilson's personal physician), but in completing the book I am left with the feeling that the addition of these materials did not add greatly to the biography or shed any new light on Wilson than what I already know. If you have never read a biography of Wilson before, this book would be a good place to start in trying to understand him- but I believe that if you really want to understand the man and the times he lived, this book is only a first step.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful
The last few years I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about World War I. Woodrow Wilson was the President during WWI therefore I have read several biographies on Wilson. In 2012 I read “Woodrow Wilson: A Biography” by John Milton Cooper which I enjoyed. Due to all my reading of Wilson I might have been demanding more from Berg’s biography of Wilson than he could deliver. Berg successfully demonstrates Wilson in all his complexity. The book covered in-depth Wilson’s youth, education process, his early career and his turning toward academe. The book describes his ascent form academia to president. Berg also noted that when he was young Wilson practiced his signature over and over because he felt that someday he would be writing it on important documents. His early goal was to be a statesman and he studied toward that goal. As President Wilson created the Federal Reserve Bank, progressive taxation and the State of the Union address. Berg downplayed Wilson’s faults for example he displayed a southern perspective of racial intolerance and he increased segregation in some government agencies. He also downplayed Wilson inability to forgive anyone he thought crossed him, his womanizing, and his behavior negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. His first Secretary of State was William Jennings Bryant who most people recognize from the Scope Trial and his railing against evolution. I did not care for the bible quotes at the beginning of each chapter. If this is a person’s first book on Wilson remember even thought the book is in-depth coverage in it not unbiased. Jeremy Bobb did a good job narrating the book.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful