Woodrow Wilson and World War I: A Burden Too Great to Bear

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9781442229372: Woodrow Wilson and World War I: A Burden Too Great to Bear
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Woodrow Wilson is often considered one of the greatest presidents in American history because, in the first two years of his presidency, he succeeded on many fronts. However, acclaimed author and historian Richard Striner now makes the case that a presidency that is too often idealized was full of missteps and failures that profoundly affected America’s politics and people long after it ended. While other negative assessments of Wilson's leadership have been one-sided, Striner's critique—though undoubtedly scathing—is judicious, nuanced, and fair. With detailed description and accessible prose, Striner sheds light on how—as soon as America entered World War I—flaws of Wilson’s were exposed as the pressure on his administration mounted. This book is a story of presidential failure, a chronicle of Woodrow Wilson’s miscalculations in war, and a harrowing account of the process through which an intelligent American leader fell to pieces under a burden he could not bear.

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About the Author:

Richard Striner is professor of history at Washington College and the author of Lincoln’s Way: How Six Great Presidents Created American Power (R&L 2010), a History Book Club selection, as well as Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery.

Review:

Timed to the centenary of WW I, this book offers a strongly argued and sharply focused attack on the presidential leadership of Woodrow Wilson. Using letters, speeches, diaries, and some traditional biographies. . . .it was once the staple of 'realist' thinkers about international affairs from Hans Morgenthau through Henry Kissinger. [R]arely has it been put this forcefully, or have Wilson's manifest mistakes in strategic thinking and contingency planning been so thoroughly dissected. Striner contends that from his initial 'unwise' appeal to Americans to remain 'impartial in thought' as well as neutral in action, Wilson was a 'disaster' as a wartime leader and 'dreadfully incompetent' in the peace negotiations that followed. The author occasionally mitigates the harshness of his critique by citing the possibility of various medical and psychological explanations for Wilson's behavior, and asks at the end of the book whether Wilson should be the 'object of our castigation or our pity?'. . . Striner thoroughly rejects the 'Wilson as the visionary prophet' view of Arthur Link, as well as the more sympathetic writings of Thomas Knock and John Milton Cooper. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries. (CHOICE)

“Brains” Wilson, the oracular professor-president, has seen his stock rise and dip over the years, yet Striner’s book – culled from letters, speeches, diaries and the main biographies -- constitutes about as sharp a market correction as the data permits. Whatever his strengths as a Progressive reformer, Wilson was a disastrous strategist and war leader. Readers of this book will be stunned by the President’s listless preparation for an intervention in the Great War that was all but inevitable. Worse, Striner shows that Wilson took great-power diplomacy and jockeying personally, swerving weirdly between sympathy for the Entente and sympathy for the Germans. This damnable imprecision about alliances, strategy and war aims subverted America’s massive deterrent power and indeed nearly caused the AEF to miss the war, and the opportunity to roll back the last-ditch German offensives in 1918. (Geoffrey Wawro, author of A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire)

Woodrow Wilson and World War I should be required reading for our political leaders. Richard Striner has written not only an incisive critique of Wilson’s wartime leadership, but a primer on how presidents must plan for the unthinkable at every turn, and be ready to respond. (Clay Risen, New York Times)

Many historians and political scientists regard Woodrow Wilson as visionary, deeply intellectual, and energetic. But with this suspenseful and highly readable study of Wilson as a war president one of America’s subtlest thinkers about presidential leadership forces us to reconsider Wilson’s sterling reputation. Richard Striner’s searching critique of Wilson’s temperament and personality, and his deep understanding of the stakes of Wilson’s weaknesses, underscore just how much the competence of our leaders shape history. (Richard Valelly, Swarthmore College)

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Book Description ROWMAN LITTLEFIELD, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Woodrow Wilson is often considered one of the greatest presidents in American history because, in the first two years of his presidency, he succeeded on many fronts. However, acclaimed author and historian Richard Striner now makes the case that a presidency that is too often idealized was full of missteps and failures that profoundly affected America s politics and people long after it ended. While other negative assessments of Wilson s leadership have been one-sided, Striner s critique-though undoubtedly scathing-is judicious, nuanced, and fair. With detailed description and accessible prose, Striner sheds light on how-as soon as America entered World War I-flaws of Wilson s were exposed as the pressure on his administration mounted. This book is a story of presidential failure, a chronicle of Woodrow Wilson s miscalculations in war, and a harrowing account of the process through which an intelligent American leader fell to pieces under a burden he could not bear. Seller Inventory # AAR9781442229372

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Book Description ROWMAN LITTLEFIELD, United States, 2014. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Woodrow Wilson is often considered one of the greatest presidents in American history because, in the first two years of his presidency, he succeeded on many fronts. However, acclaimed author and historian Richard Striner now makes the case that a presidency that is too often idealized was full of missteps and failures that profoundly affected America s politics and people long after it ended. While other negative assessments of Wilson s leadership have been one-sided, Striner s critique-though undoubtedly scathing-is judicious, nuanced, and fair. With detailed description and accessible prose, Striner sheds light on how-as soon as America entered World War I-flaws of Wilson s were exposed as the pressure on his administration mounted. This book is a story of presidential failure, a chronicle of Woodrow Wilson s miscalculations in war, and a harrowing account of the process through which an intelligent American leader fell to pieces under a burden he could not bear. Seller Inventory # AAR9781442229372

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