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Herbert Hoover (The American Presidents Series: The 31st President, 1929-1933)


William E. Leuchtenburg



9780805069587
Retail Price: $22.00
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Format: Hardcover, 208pp.
ISBN: 9780805069587
Publisher: Times Books
Pub. Date: January 6, 2009

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Item No: 9780805069587



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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

The Republican efficiency expert whose economic boosterism met its match in the Great Depression

Catapulted into national politics by his heroic campaigns to feed Europe during and after World War I, Herbert Hoover—an engineer by training—exemplified the economic optimism of the 1920s. As president, however, Hoover was sorely tested by America’s first crisis of the twentieth century: the Great Depression.

Renowned New Deal historian William E. Leuchtenburg demonstrates how Hoover was blinkered by his distrust of government and his belief that volunteerism would solve all social ills. As Leuchtenburg shows, Hoover’s attempts to enlist the aid of private- sector leaders did little to mitigate the Depression, and he was routed from office by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. From his retirement at Stanford University, Hoover remained a vocal critic of the New Deal and big government until the end of his long life.

Leuchtenburg offers a frank, thoughtful portrait of this lifelong public servant, and shrewdly assesses Hoover’s policies and legacy in the face of one of the darkest periods of American history.



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Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) would have satisfied anyone who believed a businessman would make an ideal president. In this outstanding addition to the American President series, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Leuchtenburg (The FDR Years) points out that while writers describe Hoover as a mining engineer, he was really a promoter and financier who traveled the world and made a fortune. He vaulted to fame after brilliantly organizing relief for the Belgian famine during WWI. Appointed secretary of commerce in 1920, he operated with a dictatorial manner that infuriated colleagues, but his dynamism and popularity made him a shoo-in for the Republican nomination in 1928. As president, his political ineptitude offended Congress and discouraged supporters even before the 1929 crash. Afterward, he backed imaginative programs to stimulate the economy but insisted that direct relief was socialistic and that local governments and charities were doing fine. In fact, they weren't, and this insistence combined with a dour personality made him a widely hated figure. A veteran historian of this period, Leuchtenburg brings vivid prose and strong opinions to this richly insightful biography of a president whose impressive business acumen served him poorly. (Jan. 6)
—Publishers Weekly, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


 
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Send us your favorite quotes or passages from this book.

• "Hoover believed that the country was going through a short-term recession much like that of 1921, and hence that drastic remedies were not required. Businesses continued to report year-end profits; the stock market recovered by several points; and, in contrast to past panics, no large bank or corporation had collapsed. Hoover has been roundly criticized for not realizing that the stock market crash signaled the onset of the Great Depression, but no one else—including liberals—had any perception that the slump would last over a decade." Pg. 106


 

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About the Author

William E. Leuchtenburg, a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a noted authority on twentieth-century American history. A winner of both the Bancroft and Parkman prizes, he is the author of numerous books on the New Deal. In 2008, he was chosen as the first recipient of the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Award for Distinguished Writing in American History of Enduring Public Significance.



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Table of Contents

 
1The Great Engineer1
2The Great Humanitarian24
3Food Czar33
4Commerce51
5The Road to the White House71
6False Dawn80
7Crash103
8Global Disorder117
9Defeat128
10The Long Good-bye147
 
Milestones163
Selected Bibliography167
Index175



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