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The Bully Pulpit | Book by Doris Kearns Goodwin | Official Publisher Page | Simon & SchusterGoodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover.
Book Review: 'The Bully Pulpit' by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Thank you! Swiftly moving account of a friendship that turned sour, broke a political party in two and involved an insistent, omnipresent press corps. Cantor and Boehner? No: Teddy and Taft. In this instance, one of the principal great men would revel in the title: Theodore Roosevelt wanted nothing more than to be world-renowned, change the world and occasionally shoot a mountain lion.
The Bully Pulpit is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform that helps Roosevelt push the government to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters of our natural resources. The muckrakers are portrayed through the greatest group of journalists ever assembled at one magazine—Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White—teamed under the mercurial genius of publisher S. Edith Roosevelt and Nellie Taft kept diaries. The muckrakers wrote hundreds of letters to one another, kept journals, and wrote their memoirs. The letters of Captain Archie Butt, who served as a personal aide to both Roosevelt and Taft, provide an intimate view of both men. It is a major work of history—an examination of leadership in a rare moment of activism and reform that brought the country closer to its founding ideals.
In an unlikely amalgam of history, biography, politics, and exposition, Goodwin has created an engaging and enlightening story of a period in American history often overlooked and unappreciated. The book centers on Roosevelt and Taft, chronicling their rise as two very different politicians who developed an intimate and long lasting personal and political friendship. Roosevelt is a familiar figure, known as a vigorous and ebullient personality, famous for his belligerent, imperialistic style. Taft, although he served as both President and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is less well known. Goodwin's book traces the stories of both men as they worked together, and separately, to promote their policies while working within the Republican party, often at odds with the traditional powers within the party.
The title, “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” suggests three books in one, two.
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The villains seemed bigger, too, or at least more brazen — industrial barons and political bosses who monopolized entire industries, strangled entire cities. It makes a pretty grand story. In the s, as now, there was a growing preoccupation with economic inequality. Then, as now, the liveliest political drama played out within a bitterly divided Republican Party. Besides the two principals, her cast includes their adored wives — Edith Roosevelt literary and reclusive, a brake on her impetuous husband and Nellie Taft politically aware and astute, a goad to her chronically circumspect husband ; they are treated not just as first ladies but as essential partners in and insightful commentators on the careers of their mates. There is also a colorful cast of industrialists, labor leaders, political rivals, cabinet members and, especially, fired-up journalists. Goodwin directs her characters with precision and affection, and the story comes together like a well-wrought novel.
History, as we all know, is framed by events. But it also grows from relationships, both personal and political, and is framed by how the actions of particular players in specific circumstances set the course for the future. McClure and the stable of writers including Ida M. Roosevelt and Taft have been the subjects of many biographies, and for good reason. Roosevelt became president with the assassination of William McKinley and survived an assassination attempt himself during the presidential campaign.