The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made by Patricia O'Toole
Acclaimed author Patricia O’Toole’s “superb” (The New York Times) account of Woodrow Wilson, one of the most high-minded, consequential, and controversial US presidents. A “gripping” (USA TODAY) biography, The Moralist is “an essential contribution to presidential history” (Booklist, starred review).
“In graceful prose and deep scholarship, Patricia O’Toole casts new light on the presidency of Woodrow Wilson” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis). The Moralist shows how Wilson was a progressive who enjoyed unprecedented success in leveling the economic playing field, but he was behind the times on racial equality and women’s suffrage. As a Southern boy during the Civil War, he knew the ravages of war, and as president he refused to lead the country into World War I until he was convinced that Germany posed a direct threat to the United States. Once committed, he was an admirable commander-in-chief, yet he also presided over the harshest suppression of political dissent in American history.
After the war Wilson became the world’s most ardent champion of liberal internationalism—a democratic new world order committed to peace, collective security, and free trade. With Wilson’s leadership, the governments at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 founded the League of Nations, a federation of the world’s democracies. The creation of the League, Wilson’s last great triumph, was quickly followed by two crushing blows: a paralyzing stroke and the rejection of the treaty that would have allowed the United States to join the League. Ultimately, Wilson’s liberal internationalism was revived by Franklin D. Roosevelt and it has shaped American foreign relations—for better and worse—ever since.
A cautionary tale about the perils of moral vanity and American overreach in foreign affairs, The Moralist “does full justice to Wilson’s complexities” (The Wall Street Journal).
Patricia O’Toole is the author of five books, including The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made, When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House, and The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A former professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and a fellow of the Society of American Historians, she lives in Camden, Maine.
Table of Contents
List of Maps xiii
Author's Note: A Moralist in the White House xv
1 Son of the South 1
2 When a Man Comes to Himself 13
3 Ascent 29
4 Against All Odds 40
5 A New Freedom 51
6 A President Begins 62
7 Lines of Accommodation 73
8 Our Detached and Distant Situation 82
9 Moral Force 90
10 A Psychological Moment 99
11 Departures 109
12 The General Wreck 119
13 At Sea 127
14 Moonshine 136
15 Strict Accountability 152
16 Haven 164
17 Dodging Trouble 173
18 The World Is on Fire 184
19 Stumbling in the Dark 197
20 The Mystic Influence of the Stars and Stripes 207
The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made 5 out of 5based on
8 months ago
I strongly recommend Ms. O’Toole’s book to anyone who has an interest in the American presidency or World War I. Her compelling portrait of Wilson explains much about how and why a reluctant nation, steeped in the principle of avoiding foreign entanglements, joined in the most horrific war the world had ever expierenced and then withdrew from the victors attempt to ensure that such a catastrophe not reoccur.
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