Wilson by A. Scott Berg

71%

23 Critic Reviews

Berg portrays Wilson as an utterly new kind of chief executive, in a mold that has yet to be refilled. Readable, authoritative and, most usefully, inspiring.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author, "a brilliant biography"* of the 28th president of the United States.
*Doris Kearns Goodwin

One hundred years after his inauguration, Woodrow Wilson still stands as one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century, and one of the most enigmatic. And now, after more than a decade of research and writing, Pulitzer Prize–winning author A. Scott Berg has completed Wilson—the most personal and penetrating biography ever written about the twenty-eighth President.

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of documents in the Wilson Archives, Berg was the first biographer to gain access to two recently discovered caches of papers belonging to those close to Wilson. From this material, Berg was able to add countless details—even several unknown events—that fill in missing pieces of Wilson’s character, and cast new light on his entire life.

From the visionary Princeton professor who constructed a model for higher education in America to the architect of the ill-fated League of Nations, from the devout Commander in Chief who ushered the country through its first great World War to the widower of intense passion and turbulence who wooed a second wife with hundreds of astonishing love letters, from the idealist determined to make the world “safe for democracy” to the stroke-crippled leader whose incapacity—and the subterfuges around it—were among the century’s greatest secrets, from the trailblazer whose ideas paved the way for the New Deal and the Progressive administrations that followed to the politician whose partisan battles with his opponents left him a broken man, and ultimately, a tragic figure—this is a book at once magisterial and deeply emotional about the whole of Wilson’s life, accomplishments, and failings. This is not just Wilson the icon—but Wilson the man.

INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHS
 

About A. Scott Berg

See more books from this Author
A. Scott Berg is the author of four bestselling biographies: Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, winner of the National Book Award; Goldwyn; Lindbergh, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; and Kate Remembered. He lives in Los Angeles.
 
Published September 10, 2013 by Berkley. 834 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Critic reviews for Wilson
All: 23 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Good
on Jun 08 2013

Berg portrays Wilson as an utterly new kind of chief executive, in a mold that has yet to be refilled. Readable, authoritative and, most usefully, inspiring.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jul 08 2013

...Berg’s likening of Wilson’s life to biblical stages is overkill (chapter titles include “Ascension,” “Gethsemane,” etc.). Fortunately, the theme of tragedy—while nothing new—binds the book and lifts it above more conventional biographies.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Kevin Baker on Sep 19 2013

The author of four previous prizewinning, best-selling biographies, he has a novelist’s eye for the striking detail, and a vivid prose style. He is on less sure footing when it comes to Wilson, the statesman. Too often, he relies on shoddy sources that distort the historical record.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Robert McCrum on Nov 09 2013

...extraordinary climax to an astonishing tale, narrated with moving efficiency and precision by Scott Berg.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Craig Fehrman on Sep 13 2013

Mr. Berg is a terrific researcher, and "Wilson" exhumes hundreds of fresh quotes and details...his book reads with remarkable smoothness.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Duncan Kelly on Dec 13 2013

...another deeply hued and character-rich biography to match his justly celebrated study of Lindbergh...

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Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Bob Hoover on Sep 14 2013

Berg retells this oft-told history through a sympathetic treatment of Wilson’s tireless, nearly fanatical devotion to his peace terms. Again, the stuff of fiction, the biographer’s version adds nothing revelatory to the events despite its fresher approach.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on Sep 13 2013

This vivid portrait of Wilson and America has much to offer readers who understand that the world and our nation are still confronting many of the issues that Wilson faced in the White House a century ago.

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Washington Times

Below average
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Sep 08 2013

...the biography falls between two stools: too detailed to be introductory, yet not really definitive where it counts most.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Oct 11 2013

At times, and especially in its early chapters, Berg can sound a bit too wide-eyed about his subject. But in the end, his portrait of Wilson feels fair...

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The Economist

Above average
Reviewed by The Economist on Sep 07 2013

Caught up in the day-by-day lurch of Wilson’s presidency, Mr Berg fails to analyse some of history’s most pressing questions.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Oct 11 2013

At times, and especially in its early chapters, Berg can sound a bit too wide-eyed about his subject.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Brad Hooper on Jun 01 2013

Berg...renders Wilson with an astute, sensitive understanding of the man and his presidency...one of the major biographies of the season.

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The Boston Globe

Good
Reviewed by David M. Shribman on Sep 07 2013

We have long known the truth and now, thanks to Berg, we know a more fully rounded Wilson, not only the frail man, unshaven for six weeks, who huddled in the White House but also the brilliant beacon of idealism that he was at his prime...

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Walter Stahr on Sep 19 2013

Berg tells us that the Los Angeles press, when Wilson visited to advocate the League of Nations, “was almost unanimously supportive.” He does not cite a single Los Angeles newspaper for this statement. A disappointing book.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Good
Reviewed by Richard Pious on Sep 10 2013

...his deep knowledge of the university’s traditions and culture provides him -- and subsequently his readers -- with a similarly deep insight into the mind and character of Wilson.

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Deseret News

Excellent
Reviewed by Cody Carlson on Sep 08 2013

The same penetrating illumination, meaningful insight and readable prose that Berg brought to his biography of Charles Lindbergh is on display throughout “Wilson,” and readers can walk away with a profound and unique perspective on the man, offered by one of our most gifted biographers.

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Boston.com

Good
Reviewed by David Shribman on Sep 07 2013

In his breathtaking biography of the 28th president, A. Scott Berg argues that it was Wilson...who laid the foundation for the 20th century, his New Freedom the base on which was built the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society.

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Watermark Books And Cafe

Good
Reviewed by Carl Caton on Sep 26 2013

I now realize that Wilson was a much more complex and accomplished man, and President, and Berg's book filled in the gaps in my knowledge.

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Times Dispatch

Excellent
Reviewed by Jay Strafford on Sep 15 2013

With the sweep of his narrative, the wealth of his detail, the clarity of his prose and the breadth of his vision, Berg has produced an insightful and intimate work that is likely to stand as the definitive biography of one of the nation’s most consequential leaders.

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Book Buzz

Good
on Sep 19 2013

Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg has returned to bookshelves with a work of spectacular artistry and objective workmanship in drafting perhaps the most intimate portrait of Woodrow Wilson, the college history professor who made his own mark on history.

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Philly.com

Excellent
Reviewed by John Rossi on Sep 08 2013

Berg's biography is by far the best single study of Wilson's life and times. It is based on solid documentary sources the author handles with skill. His Wilson is a combination of farsighted statesman and flawed personality. Berg's study should remain the standard biography of this tragic figure for a long time.

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Washingtonian

Good
Reviewed by John Wilwol on Sep 09 2013

A. Scott Berg—a Pulitzer Prize winner for his life of Charles Lindbergh—spent a decade researching and writing Wilson, his sprawling biography of the 28th President. And, boy, does it show. The book is marvelously detailed.

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Eric Brown 21 Apr 2014

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