This is the first definitive study of the presidency of America's least understood, most neglected and most under-appreciated Chief Executive. Born in a Quaker hamlet in Iowa, orphaned at nine, Herbert Hoover rose to wealth and world fame as an international mining engineer, the savior of Belgium during the Great War, and Food Administrator under Woodrow Wilson. Perhaps the greatest Secretary of Commerce in American history, he helped engineer the prosperity of the 1920s and vainly warned of an economy overheated by speculation that collapsed in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Combining government with private resources, he became the first president to pit government action against the economic cycle, setting precedents and spawning ideas employed by his successor and all future presidents. Modest, shy, humble, with a subtle sense of humor, he lacked the self-promotional style of professional politicians and eschewed political invective. His depression measures mitigated the effects of the depression yet failed to end it. In foreign policy he sponsored naval disarmament, refused to recognition territory seized by force, and made world peace his priority. Maligned as a miserly misanthrope, he was blamed for the crash and depression during the 1932 campaign, which he lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt by a slightly larger margin than he had defeated Al Smith in 1928. Jeansonne's study sweeps away the cobwebs of neglect from Hoover's presidency and his lively prose humanizes and evokes greater understanding of our thirty-first president.
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Published February 15, 2012
by Palgrave Macmillan.
Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference.