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1912 : Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs-- the election that changed the country /
James Chace.
New York : Simon & Schuster, c2004.
x, 323 p. : ill.
More Details
New York : Simon & Schuster, c2004.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
This item was nominated for the following awards:
New York Times Notable Books of the Year, USA, 2004 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-04-15:
When incumbent William Howard Taft was challenged in 1912 by the diverse trio of Woodrow Wilson (a former college professor), President Theodore Roosevelt (the previous incumbent), and Eugene V. Debs (the charismatic Socialist), the presidential contest was destined to be lively. Political scientist Chace (Bard Coll.; Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World) offers an intimate account that captures the personalities of the four contenders, as well as those of the secondary figures. Warren G. Harding, a small-town Ohio newspaper editor, nominated Taft for re-election at the conservative-dominated Republican convention, denying Roosevelt the slot despite his primary victories. If Roosevelt had not reacted by bolting to launch a third-party bid, he might have been in the White House four years later. The split between the conservative and progressive Republicans enabled the Southern-born, self-righteous, and racist Woodrow Wilson (the Democrat) to win. Taft came in third place in 1912 but ultimately got the job most agreeable to his passive personality when Harding appointed him chief justice of the Supreme Court. It took Roosevelt's fifth cousin from Hyde Park, NY, to resolve the great, lingering issues from the 1912 campaign. Scholars, presidential buffs, and the general public will thoroughly enjoy this well-crafted and timely page-turner. Highly recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/03.]-William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Appeared in Choice on 2005-02-01:
Chace (formerly, government and public law, Bard College) maintains that the candidates in the 1912 presidential election discussed issues that helped establish much of the political agenda of the 20th-century US. Progressive idealism proposed by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson clashed with conservative values espoused by William Howard Taft. Eugene Debs attracted more votes for the radical proposals of socialism than had been garnered in any previous election. The issues and their resolution determined how, or even whether, the country would adapt to the demands of the new century yet maintain the democratic principles established by the founders. Would pollution from increased industrialization and population choke the environment? How should the government act to regulate or break down the gigantic business interests created by the trusts? Should women vote? Chace does not ignore the personalities involved in this campaign. They all receive their due: Roosevelt, eager to return to the presidency and lead the country in a more progressive direction; Taft, torn between progressive impulses and his conservative foundations; Wilson, ambitious political newcomer; and Debs, veteran labor leader and Socialist Party candidate. This book is a welcome addition to studies of the US during the early 20th century. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels and libraries. J. P. Sanson Louisiana State University at Alexandria
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-03-01:
Some histories interpret new evidence and add to our store of knowledge. Some, relying on others' research, simply tell a known story. Chace's work is the best of the latter kind: a lively, balanced and accurate retelling of an important moment in American history. Even though the 1912 election wasn't the election that changed the country (there have been several), it was a critical one. It gave us Woodrow Wilson, though only by a plurality of the popular vote (albeit a huge electoral majority) and so gave us U.S. intervention in WWI and Wilsonian internationalism. Because of former president Theodore Roosevelt's rousing candidacy as nominee of the short-lived Bull Moose, or Progressive, Party, the campaign deepened the public's acceptance of the idea of a more modern and activist presidency. Because Eugene Debs, the great Socialist, gained more votes for that party (6% of the total) than ever before or since, the election marked American socialism's political peak. What of the ousted incumbent, William Howard Taft? Chace (Acheson, etc.) succeeds in making him a believable, sympathetic character, if a lackluster chief executive. What made the 1912 campaign unusual was that candidates of four, not just two, parties vied for the presidency. The race was also marked by a basic decency, honesty and quality of debate not often seen again. Chace brings sharply alive the distinctive characters in his fast-paced story. There won't soon be a better-told tale of one of the last century's major elections. Agent, Suzanne Gluck, William Morris. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, January 2004
Publishers Weekly, March 2004
Booklist, April 2004
Library Journal, April 2004
New York Times Book Review, May 2004
Wall Street Journal, May 2004
Washington Post, May 2004
Los Angeles Times, July 2004
Washington Post, August 2004
School Library Journal, November 2004
Choice, February 2005
New York Times Book Review, August 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Prologue: The Defining Momentp. 1
America's Destinyp. 9
"Back from Elba"p. 11
"The Ruthlessness of the Pure in Heart"p. 39
The Heirs of Hamilton and Jeffersonp. 55
The Debs Rebellionp. 67
Chicago and Baltimorep. 91
"Stripped to the Buff"p. 93
"A Rope of Sand"p. 107
Standing at Armageddonp. 115
The Fullness of Timep. 125
Baltimorep. 143
The Indispensable Manp. 161
To Make a Revolution: Debs and Haywoodp. 169
The Contendersp. 189
The New Freedom vs. the New Nationalismp. 191
The Crusaderp. 199
The Moralistp. 209
The Authentic Conservative and the Red Prophetp. 219
"To Kill a Bull Moose"p. 227
The Consequences of Victoryp. 241
The Ironies of Fatep. 243
Endgamesp. 261
Epilogue: The Inheritorsp. 277
Notesp. 285
Bibliographical Notep. 305
Acknowledgmentsp. 307
Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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