The Woodrow Wilson biography

Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by August Heckscher
I visited the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C., without having researched Wilson first.
Disclaimer: The visit was something of a surprise/accident; otherwise this type of heinous oversight would not occur in the life of the Type A presidential history dork. I darn near avoided visiting, since I hadn’t researched in advance. I am sometimes a moron in this way.
So I asked the docent there to recommend a Wilson biography, and she said this book is the book on Wilson.
So here’s the thing: By halfway through (it’s 675 pages, this book), I thought I’d learned that I’m just not that into Wilson. (Did this make me horrid? Why did this make me feel horrid?)
This is a perfectly good biography. In fact, it’s acclaimed.
It just wasn’t tripping my trigger. Until we got to the war years and beyond—and then, I was in. And the last 150 pages went way too fast.
A person just can’t help saying, “What if…?” over and over again, when reading about the peace conference following WWI. And that’s when Wilson began to seem truly sympathetic—and tragic. And then his life just got worse and worse and worse. Being a sucker for such tragedy, well, it grabbed me.
Here’s but one thing to love about Wilson: He was a terrific orator. The book includes some brief excerpts from impromptu speeches he delivered, and the man could really put together a sentence.
So, here’s to our only U.S. president who earned a doctorate (Johns Hopkins, government and history). He’s also the only president buried in Washington, D.C. And his first name wasn’t even Woodrow, it was Thomas! (President Thomas W. Wilson. It just doesn’t sing, does it?)
OK. Done now with the geek-out attack.
The 19th book I’ve read for the U.S. President Reading Project challenge.

2 thoughts on “The Woodrow Wilson biography

  1. You're coming along so well with this challenge that I'm too chicken to join.
    I like Woodrow…the name…those syllables just chew up so nicely as you say them.

  2. Bybee,

    Oh, but it's a lifetime reading challenge! So a person has just eons to read all those books. : )

    Actually, earlier today I was having a conscience attack over considering "Assassination Vacation" as a bio of Garfield and McKinley… so I'm docking myself 2 points and committing to reading a full bio of each.

    I may regret this.

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