WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT: BIOGRAPHY IN TWO VOLUMES
by Henry F. Pringle
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT
(Volume One of Two)
ISBN 978-0-945707-19-6 $35.00
555 pages including illustrations.
It is not improbably that William Howard Taft would disapprove
of certain parts of this biography. Outwardly, he was the soul of decorum;
too much so, perhaps, for his own good. Beneath the decorum, however,
was a man with very pronounced views. He had emphatic opinions about
people as well as issues and these opinions were often set forth in his private
letters. “Confidential and personal” was the warning on many of his
communications. Taft would have been scandalized had they been published
while he was alive.
This life of Taft is authorized but not official. The
distinction is vital. The author was given unrestricted access to
all the hundreds of thousands of letters in the Taft collection at the Library
of Congress and to all other available material. This was due entirely
to the very unusual position taken by Robert, Charles and Helen Taft (Mrs.
Frederick J Manning). They are the owners of their father’s papers
and are his literary executors. They permitted the author to wander
at will through the enormous treasure house which the collection is.
He could quote as he pleased. He could draw what judgments he liked.
The sole restriction was the logical one against involving the Taft estate
in a libel suit. This book, then, has no trace of official, family
endorsement. The literary executors did not even ready the manuscript
in its present, final, revised form. (From Pringle’s foreword, continued
in volume two.)