Hoover
The definitive biography of one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century, Herbert Hoover--a revisionist account that will forever change the way Americans understand the man, his presidency, and his battle against the Great Depression. A poor orphan who built a fortune, a great humanitarian, a president elected in a landslide and then routed in the next election, arguably the father of both New Deal liberalism and modern conservatism--Herbert Hoover is also one of our least understood presidents, conventionally seen only as a heartless failure for his handling of the Great Depression. Kenneth Whyte fully captures this rich, dramatic life: from Hoover's difficult childhood to his meteoric business career, his work saving hundreds of thousands of lives during World War I and after the 1927 Mississippi floods, his presidency, his painful defeat by Roosevelt, and his return to grace as Truman's emissary to help European refugees after World War II. Whyte brings to life Hoover's complexity and contradictions--his modesty and ambition, ruthlessness and extreme generosity--as well as his political legacy. Here is the epic, poignant story of the poor boy who became the most accomplished figure of his time, who worked ceaselessly to fight the Depression yet became the public face of America's greatest economic crisis. Here, for the first time, is the definitive biography that captures the full scale of this extraordinary life."

Hoover Details

TitleHoover
Author
ReleaseOct 10th, 2017
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
ISBN-139780307597960
Rating
GenreBiography, History, Nonfiction, Politics, Presidents, North American Hi..., American History

Hoover Review

  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    First, I should admit that I was a bit biased on the subject before I began reading Hoover . I have a special place in my heart for Herbert Hoover. I lived in Iowa for 16 years and spent some time at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, where I learned quite a bit about him and developed an affection for the 31st president. I was very excited to get my hands on this book. I mention my Hoover bias because it will inevitably affect my review of this book. If you don't First, I should admit that I was a bit biased on the subject before I began reading Hoover . I have a special place in my heart for Herbert Hoover. I lived in Iowa for 16 years and spent some time at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, where I learned quite a bit about him and developed an affection for the 31st president. I was very excited to get my hands on this book. I mention my Hoover bias because it will inevitably affect my review of this book. If you don't know much about Herbert Hoover, you should absolutely read this book and get to know him because there is so much more to him than most people realize. From his Quaker upbringing to his determination and success as a mining engineer to his devotion to public service until his death at the age of 90, his story is extraordinary. Hoover became President of the U.S. in March of 1929, months before the stock market crashed, a challenge that ensured his legacy would forever be tied to the Great Depression that followed. This is where the "revisionist account" comes from in the book description. Hoover's four years in office, followed by FDR's 12 years and WWII & preceded by Wilson's eight years and WWI, are often overlooked or reduced along with Harding & Coolidge when we consider American presidential history. The more you learn about Hoover, the more likely you are to see this as an injustice.This biography weighs in at 640 pages, but I can't help but wonder how much longer it was before any editing. It may seem like a lengthy bio for a one-term president, but Hoover's life could fill many, many more pages. His childhood alone is a compelling story, and an important one because we see how his experience as a young man influenced both his ambition and insecurities. During WWI he led an impressive relief effort for the people of occupied Belgium. He served under both Republican and Democratic administrations and considered himself a public servant more than a politician. That sounds refreshing compared to today's constant politics and news cycle, but he served his country at a time of transition when mass media began to grow and in my mind, mass media is where skills as a politician become essential. The hard working, socially awkward public servant will always struggle against the seasoned politician focused on winning the election. That seems to have been Hoover's biggest weakness as far as his legacy is concerned.I think this is a great read for anyone with an interest in American presidential history, or history in general, as Hoover was a public figure throughout half of the twentieth century. The book is well researched and the author seems to make an effort to remain unbiased for the most part. In the introduction, the author praises Hoover and states that he has made an effort to privilege understanding over judgment in this biography. Yet there were many times throughout where I felt that Hoover seemed insufferable in his pettiness. Hoover's flaws are represented throughout to an extent that I had to go back and re-read the introduction because the author's tone seemed to have changed so much. Perhaps my experience in Iowa has indoctrinated me to the point that the revisionist account didn't satisfy me completely. I enjoyed the book, I recommend it, and I learned quite a bit that I didn't know or had forgotten about Hoover. However, there were sections that barely touched on things that are in my mind worthy of much more attention. There is so much more that can be said about Hoover's term as president and the elections of 1928 and 1932, the relationship between Hoover and FDR, and the Hoover Dam - these are a few examples where the author only touched the surface of some very rich material. Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free Kindle copy of Hoover: HIs Life and Times by Kenneth Whyte courtesy of Net Galley and Knopf Doubleday the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a number of presidential biographies, but never one on Herbert Hoover. It is the first book by the Kenneth Whyte t I received a free Kindle copy of Hoover: HIs Life and Times by Kenneth Whyte courtesy of Net Galley and Knopf Doubleday the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a number of presidential biographies, but never one on Herbert Hoover. It is the first book by the Kenneth Whyte that I have read. This book is well written and researched. Whyte has a writing style that is informative and engaging.What I knew about Herbert Hoover prior to reading this book was just snippets of information. He was president when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression started. He briefly lived in Newburgh and Salem, Oregon close to where I currently reside.Hoover had a difficult childhood that led to his many unusual characteristics for a person who would aspire to and achieve the presidency of the United States. His ability to focus on situations to the exclusion of most everything else (including his famiy) was unparalleled at the time. His often thin skin (he took a number of things as personal when they wre not) would not do well in current times with the phlethora of social media and the 24 hour news cycle.What I found most interesting was that many of his ideas that he was unable to implement during his term as President to get the country moving again during the Great Depression due to a democratic Congress were adopted and implemented by FDR with the support of a democratic Congress.In the end, Hoover was complicated man who had a deep seeded need to help others - especially children.I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of presidential biographies or is interested in learning more about one of our most misunderstood presidents.
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I love biographies, especially when they are about "private" people in the public eye. This was a much easier task to accomplish in Hoover's time, but still... Hoover's name is bandied about for a number of reasons (e.g., Hoovervilles, Hoover Dam), but once I began reading this very detailed and well-written book, I realized how little I actually knew about the man himself. He has tended, I think, to be overshadowed by the significantly difficult times in which he found himself. From his humble I love biographies, especially when they are about "private" people in the public eye. This was a much easier task to accomplish in Hoover's time, but still... Hoover's name is bandied about for a number of reasons (e.g., Hoovervilles, Hoover Dam), but once I began reading this very detailed and well-written book, I realized how little I actually knew about the man himself. He has tended, I think, to be overshadowed by the significantly difficult times in which he found himself. From his humble and rather severe childhood to his years after the White House, Whyte has done a masterful job at recreating a surprisingly private life in meticulously researched detail. There is a LOT of information here, and while it is presented in clear language and a solid writing style, it is (as other reviewers have noted) not really for the casual reader... This is a scholarly biography, not so much a narrative story. If you are serious a fan of history though, this is a marvelous book - the times Hoover lived through were fascinating ones, in terms of both domestic and international events, and there is a great deal of interesting facts and tidbits to be found in these 800+ pages. My review copy was provided by the Penguin First to Read program.
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  • Kristine
    January 1, 1970
    Hoover by Kenneth Whyte is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early October.More familiar as a U.S. president and the origin of the terms 'Hooverville' and to 'Hoover' your dinner plate, Herbert Hoover isn't as well-known or remembered for his humanitarian relief efforts and programs. Born in Iowa, he really comes into his own while surveying land - first for geological purposes, then for mining - before settling in England to reopen trade routes to supply starving and ill-equipped citizens a Hoover by Kenneth Whyte is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early October.More familiar as a U.S. president and the origin of the terms 'Hooverville' and to 'Hoover' your dinner plate, Herbert Hoover isn't as well-known or remembered for his humanitarian relief efforts and programs. Born in Iowa, he really comes into his own while surveying land - first for geological purposes, then for mining - before settling in England to reopen trade routes to supply starving and ill-equipped citizens and military during World War I. Later, he's drawn to serve in President Harding's cabinet, develop government bills toward food rationing and funding European charities, and campaign as a Republican. Once he's selected as president in 1929, he trims excess spending at the White House, goes on a diet, invents Hooverball (tennis with a medicine ball), chews on ten cigars per day, and works to create government-funded welfare. After he finished his term, he tours Europe again to assist during World War II, poo-poos the New Deal, goes on select speaking tours, writes his memoirs, and fishes off Key Largo until his death in 1964.
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  • Mindy
    January 1, 1970
    Kenneth Whyte is a wonderful author. Hoover is a very well-written and well-thought out biography. Hoover is a very interesting man and how he overcame the challenges in his life are astonishing to say the least. It did get a little dry at times, however, I have found with most historical biographies, this can be the case. It was still a very interesting read and it did bring some clarity to Hoover's life. Will definitely recommend to my historical biography friends. I received a free copy of th Kenneth Whyte is a wonderful author. Hoover is a very well-written and well-thought out biography. Hoover is a very interesting man and how he overcame the challenges in his life are astonishing to say the least. It did get a little dry at times, however, I have found with most historical biographies, this can be the case. It was still a very interesting read and it did bring some clarity to Hoover's life. Will definitely recommend to my historical biography friends. I received a free copy of this novel as part of Penguin's First to Read Program.
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  • PWRL
    January 1, 1970
    SM
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