Hoover by Kenneth Whyte


Kenneth Whyte

Hoover is the definitive biography that captures the full scale of Herbert Hoover's extraordinary life.

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"An exemplary biography—exhaustively researched, fair-minded and easy to read. It can nestle on the same shelf as David McCullough’s Truman, a high compliment indeed." —The Wall Street Journal

The definitive biography of Herbert Hoover, one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century—a wholly original account that will forever change the way Americans understand the man, his presidency, his battle against the Great Depression, and their own history.

An impoverished orphan who built a fortune. A great humanitarian. A president elected in a landslide and then resoundingly defeated four years later. Arguably the father of both New Deal liberalism and modern conservatism, Herbert Hoover lived one of the most extraordinary American lives of the twentieth century. Yet however astonishing, his accomplishments are often eclipsed by the perception that Hoover was inept and heartless in the face of the Great Depression.

Now, Kenneth Whyte vividly recreates Hoover’s rich and dramatic life in all its complex glory. He follows Hoover through his Iowa boyhood, his cutthroat business career, his brilliant rescue of millions of lives during World War I and the 1927 Mississippi floods, his misconstrued presidency, his defeat at the hands of a ruthless Franklin Roosevelt, his devastating years in the political wilderness, his return to grace as Truman's emissary to help European refugees after World War II, and his final vindication in the days of Kennedy's "New Frontier." Ultimately, Whyte brings to light Hoover’s complexities and contradictions—his modesty and ambition, his ruthlessness and extreme generosity—as well as his profound political legacy.

Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times
is the epic, poignant story of the deprived boy who, through force of will, made himself the most accomplished figure in the land, and who experienced a range of achievements and failures unmatched by any American of his, or perhaps any, era. Here, for the first time, is the definitive biography that fully captures the colossal scale of Hoover’s momentous life and volatile times.

Advance Galley Reviews

If you've ever wanted to learn about President Hoover this is the book for you! This biography is very thorough and covers his life from child orphan to becoming a humanitarian who founded organizations like UNICEF. His presidency and politics are strenuously covered and any one interested in history or politics is sure to enjoy this book. Since it is a biography of a President, it is a very large book and will take some time to read but well worth it to understand this man better than history books portray him. Learning more about how he inherited the Stock Market Crash and veered his way through The Depression Era while having to make major choices was fascinating. Overall this book was difficult at times to read because of how thick it is and how much information is thrown towards the reader but pacing yourself helps to avoid information overload. For me it isn't a re-read but would be a great gift for any history buffs in your life. A good solid read. Thank you to First to Read and Knopf Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review!

This biography was well written, and I was did find some part of the book interesting, but I ended up not being able to complete it. It was just way too much information, and after a while it all began to get tedious. Of course, I think this would be perfect book for those who are extremely interested in history, but I don't think it was for me.

When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. I had many preconceived notions about Herbert Hoover.....disaster of a president, mental pictures of shantytowns called "Hoovervilles,'' his "mishandling' of the great depression,etc. As I read about Hoover's life, his business dealings, military service, and his years as president, I found my opinions changing, maturing from the negative snippets I was taught in school. This is a well-written, interesting biography that seeks to make right some wrongs that have been done to Hoover's legacy. He was president during a very difficult time, and was much maligned over the decades. I found the information about his life and presidency, presented without negative influences, to be interesting and thought provoking. At 600+ pages, this book takes some time to read and mentally digest -- but it's worth the effort!

This is a large book, full of a lot of information. While I am a history buff and found so much of it fascinating, it's also a bit dry and occasionally read like a list of facts. I did find it to be well researched and wonderfully laid out. However I think it's probably too long for your run of the mill person. History buffs will no doubt enjoy it. Thanks for first to read for providing me a copy.

Hoover, while being well written, was a huge book to read. There is a lot of information and the focus is on many aspects of Hoover's life. This would be a great read for a history buff and someone doing a project on Hoover but not an everyday read for the masses.

I live not too far from Stanford University, where Hoover went to college and where they have a pavilion named after him ( among other things). The pavilion holds a small museum which we visit frequently. It is next door to the Hoover Tower, which has a permanent exhibit about Hoover and other rotating exhibits, a lot of them relating to Hoover. So, I was constantly being exposed to little snippets of Hoover's life, but really knew very little about him. When I had an opportunity to read this biography of him, I jumped at the chance! It is a very long and very well researched book. I actually haven't finished it yet, but it is over 600 pages and my time is running out.! However, I have read enough to tell you that he was a very complex person. There were times that he seemed like a absolute jerk, and then you look at what he did during World War I to help his countrymen get out of Europe, and to help the people of Belgium who would have starved without his help! I think that the author did an amazing job writing a very balanced biography.

I received an ARC from First to Read in exchange for volunteering to provide my honest review of this book. Hoover was very tedious to read and at times I felt as if I just couldn’t complete reading. Overall, I would say this was very much a “push” versus a “pull” of a read due to too much content combined with a very slow pace. Given that commentary there was information that I was pleased to discover; such as how Hoover really had the responsibility of the depression. The Stock Market Crash happened under Coolidge’s watch, but Hoover had to manage the turn around. The most overwhelmingly new and positive information I learned by reading the book was all the work he did in the way of caring for and feeding children and the starving world-wide. His tireless work as a humanitarian is his legacy resulting in the founding of UNICEF and CARE.

Not being an avid fan of politics, I was a bit dubious about reading a book about Herbert Hoover , not to mention 800 pages worth. Not only was this book well researched, but the author kept the story moving so that the attention to fact and detail did not become over bearing, but kept me interested and reading to the end. I don't know if this was everything you ever wanted to know about Herbert Hoover but were afraid to ask. It probably comes very close. A good read, entertaining and educational. I applaud the author for this endeavor, and thank Penguin Random House for allowing me to read this advance copy.

Kenneth Whyte is a wonderful author. Hoover is a very well-written and well-thought out biography. Hoover is a very interesting man and how he overcame the challenges in his life are astonishing to say the least. It did get a little dry at times, however, I have found with most historical biographies, this can be the case. It was still a very interesting read and it did bring some clarity to Hoover's life. Will definitely recommend to my historical biography friends.

Thank you for offering me this ARC, however it is not a title I am interested in.

Not something I am interrested in reading. Thank you for the ARC.

I love biographies, especially when they are about "private" people in the public eye. This was a much easier task to accomplish in Hoover's time, but still... Hoover's name is bandied about for a number of reasons (e.g., Hoovervilles, Hoover Dam), but once I began reading this very detailed and well-written book, I realized how little I actually knew about the man himself. He has tended, I think, to be overshadowed by the significantly difficult times in which he found himself. From his humble and rather severe childhood to his years after the White House, Whyte has done a masterful job at recreating a surprisingly private life in meticulously researched detail. There is a LOT of information here, and while it is presented in clear language and a solid writing style, it is (as other reviewers have noted) not really for the casual reader... This is a scholarly biography, not so much a narrative story. If you are serious a fan of history though, this is a marvelous book - the times Hoover lived through were fascinating ones, in terms of both domestic and international events, and there is a great deal of interesting facts and tidbits to be found in these 800+ pages.

I am very unsure why I was selected to receive this title since I am in no way a person who enjoys reading biographies; even biographies of people I love do not entice me. This book is probably great to an avid biography reader, someone into politics/history and past presidents, but to me it was dry, unable to hold my interest and ultimately i did not finish it. The few pages I did read were very well written and though, so I must give the author that credit. Its about 800 pages of something I have no interest in so I feel really terrible that this was wasted on me when it could have been given to someone more suitable. I did not request the title myself. Very sorry if this review was not helpful.

Many thanks for offering me this title. I am not sure why I was selected as I don't normally read biographies and didn't request it so am probably not the target audience. This is described as a definitive biography of an influential 20th century politician. However,I am afraid I could not get to grips with it at all. It was incredibly dry and I got no sense of Hoover as a person at all. But as I say I am.not the target audience so my lack of appreciation is probably not the same as someone who is interested in this period .

An in depth and well-written biography of Herbert Hoover chronicling his early years of a poor boy shuffled among relatives, to achieving the highest office in the land. Many anecdotes from his ventures and adventures around the world. Hoover, a seemingly uncomplicated man who achieved so much during trying circumstances and a humanitarian throughout his long life. He was driven and relentless and had some business ups and downs, even a close call during the Boxer Revolution. He was involved with political and social endeavors and was a remarkable man whose career was overshadowed by the Depression era. A large volume of information written in textbook format is the only drawback. Hoover enthusiasts will enjoy the wealth of information, casual readers may find it hard to stick with.

Terrible sorry Mr. Kenneth Whyte but I found Hoover to be only a little less dry than cinnamon and just as hard to choke down. Not to say that Kenneth Whyte is not someone I wouldn't attempt to read again I just found the subject matter boring. He tells the story he is trying to tell very well or at least very educationally but that is sort of the problem. It's a bit like trying to read a history book and lets be honest history books take all of the fun out history. If you are actually interested in Herbert Hoover then this is the book for you, it is a well written story. But if your only mildly interested or not at all interested then I wouldn't bother. You will find yourself reading the same paragraph multiple times and struggling to get interested in the subject matter. It just isn't written so well that despite the dull history feel you can find yourself swept into the story.


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