WOODROW WILSON: A BIOGRAPHY
by August Heckscher
ISBN 978-0-945707-26-4 $37.50
743 pages plus illustrations, notes, bibliography and index.
Woodrow Wilson - - scholar, reformer, orator, warrior, and
peacemaker - - was a prodigious visionary whose successes place him among
the great U.S. Presidents, and whose failures leave questions that still haunt
the late twentieth century. A vigorous, attractive leader in his prime,
he has come down to posterity as a grim figure, a defeated but uncompromising
warrior. Yet he brought a fresh spirit to American politics as he took
our nation irrevocably into the arena of international leadership and responsibility.
This full-scale biography - - the first in thirty years - -
traces with sympathy but penetrating objectivity Wilson's meteoric career.
A president of Princeton University, he ran successfully for the New Jersey
governorship. Two years later Wilson was in the White House. His
domestic accomplishments were followed by his achievement as war leader in
the first of this century's general conflicts. He defined the terms
on which World War I ended, and as spokesman for humankind received unprecedented
adulation. Then the public mood darkened. Wilson's errors of judgment,
abetted by failing health, collapsed his hopes for a liberal peace.
Yet today, with the revival of collective security and international law as
valid concepts, Wilson's prophetic ideals acquire fresh significance.
Based on the full corpus of the Wilson papers and letters,
much of the material available for the first time, this biography incorporates
the most recent historical scholarship; at the same time, it searches with
the eye of an artist into Wilson's private life. Far from being "cold",
he was imaginative and sensitive, especially in his rich and complex relationships
with women. Here, too, are sharply etched portraits of the scholars,
politicians, statesmen, and world leaders among whom Wilson moved.
Combining intimate biography with enthralling history, Woodrow Wilson creates
an image of a man larger than life and yet singularly human, fallible, and
now thoroughly comprehensible.