The Bully Pulpit

Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism

Goodwin, Doris Kearns

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Bully Pulpit
A dynamic history of the muckracking press and the first decade of the Progressive era as told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft--a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912 when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that cripples the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country's history.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Simon & Schuster,, 2013
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781416547860
Branch Call Number: 973.911 G6564b 2013
Characteristics: xiv, 910 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations, portraits ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

When Doris Kearns Goodwin publishes a book, you read it. Enough said.

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Sep 05, 2014
  • ApollosRaven rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

By contrasting the personalities of T.R. and Taft, Goodwin shows how Roosevelt was able to capitalize on the mass media of his age and create a true dialogue with the public leading to major reforms. Taft's failure to move T.R.'s policies significantly forward was more about his personality than his politics. Certainly not every U.S. President since has been able to utilize the bully pulpit so well.

I don't feel that author Goodwin is advocating a 'tight embrace' between the Oval Office and the media. I think it's more of a wistful nostalgia for a time before news outlets were simply stenographers to power, when regurgitation of press releases would not be used as substitutes for actual reporting and before the 'press' were shills for the corporate party line. And if by 'fawning over the Obamas' the author of the Journal of Books review means 'dutifully reporting every right-wing lie as fact,' then that's certainly true, but if it means honest reporting on the president's fealty to Wall Street and the Pentagon even as he gives a big middle finger to working Americans, well........

By highlighting journalism’s political clout and popular appeal before and after Theodore Roosevelt’s administration Goodwin brings new insights to a period in American history as few others can. A readable history lesson that Roosevelt enthusiasts as well as those interested in the development of journalism will enjoy.

Jun 25, 2014
  • JohnFDavidson rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Doris Kearns Goodwin provides a good context. Theodore Roosevelt faced a difficult situation, but handled it differently. He used reporters to get information and to reinforce his views. the author also puts Robert Taft into context. The two men were friends and thought very much alike, but had different personalities that led them to conflict. Roosevelt has mostly been caricaturized, but here I can appreciate he was dynamic and deep in his thinking.


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