BOOKS

Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary

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A veteran of the tumultuous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and now a USC Professor and President of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Cowan has written a lively account of Theodore Roosevelt’s effort to have the Republican Party oust his one-time friend, President William Howard Taft, and install himself as its nominee for the White House in 1912. If you are a Theodore Roosevelt fan, be prepared for unpleasant surprises as he maneuvers to become the GOP standard bearer over the dead-political body of his protégé. Well researched and written with the gusto of someone who knows and loves politics, it’s a great read. Because the book focuses on Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft and ends at the Progressive Party Convention, pick up Lewis L. Gould’s Four Hats in the Ring: The 1912 Election and the Birth of Modern American Politics, before or after consuming Cowan’s excellent volume.
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After three years preparing The Triumph of William McKinley by reading very little but books, letters, articles and newspapers from the Gilded Age, I’m trying to get back into my regular routine, which I’ll chronicle here with an occasional review of what I’ve read.

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Not only does this volume have the best title of any book I’ve read in the past year, but it will keep you on the edge of your chair until you finish this tale.

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This is a riveting tale of brotherly love, tested in a time of global war.  The characters are vividly drawn, the action riveting and the suspense almost overwhelming. 

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My copy of PORTRAITS OF COURAGE arrived and I thumbed through it, expecting to take a quick look before adding it to my reading stack and getting to it in a few days.

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It is easy to forget that the greatest conflict in human history – World War II – was won mostly through the efforts of teenagers who made up the vast preponderance of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and merchant marines.


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