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The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism Hardcover – November 5, 2013

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Imported from USA

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An Best Book of the Month, November 2013: In an era when cooperation between the national media and the
US government seems laughable, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s timely 100-year look backward
explores the origins of the type of muckraking journalism that helped make America a better country. Focusing on the
presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and his successor, William Howard Taft--one-time colleagues and friends who later
became sworn foes--Goodwin chronicles the birth of an activist press, which occurred when five of the nation’s best-ever
journalists converged at McClure’s magazine and helped usher in the Progressive era. At times slow and overly
meticulous, with a lot of backstory and historical minutiae, this is nonetheless a lush, lively, and surprisingly urgent
story--a series of entwined stories, actually, with headstrong and irascible characters who had me pining for
journalism’s earlier days. It’s a big book that cries out for a weekend in a cabin, a book to get fully lost in, to hole
up with and ignore the modern world, to experience the days when newsmen and women were our heroes. --Neal Thompson ( )

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*Starred Review* In this hyperpartisan era, it is well to remember that a belief in an activist federal
government that promoted both social and economic progress crossed party lines, as it did during the Progressive
movement of the early twentieth century. Goodwin, the acclaimed historian, repeatedly emphasizes that fact in her
massive and masterful study of the friendship, and then the enmity, of two presidents who played major roles in that
movement. Roosevelt, unsurprisingly, is portrayed by Goodwin as egotistical, bombastic, and determined to take on
powerful special interests. He saw his secretary of war, Taft, as a friend and disciple. When Taft, as president, seemed
to abandon the path of reform, Roosevelt saw it as both a political and a personal betrayal. Taft, sadly remembered by
many as our fattest president, receives nuanced, sympathetic, but not particularly favorable treatment here. But this is
also an examination of some of the great journalists who exposed societal ills and promoted the reforms that aimed to
address them. Many of these muckrakers, including Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens, worked for McClure’s magazine. This
is a superb re-creation of a period when many politicians, journalists, and citizens of differing political affiliations
viewed government as a force for public good. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This author’s new book has been greatly
anticipated; much prepublication discussion has occurred; and reader interest will be intense. --Jay Freeman

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