I found this read by Doris Kearns Goodwin to be particularly interesting due to how she interwove the three subjects of the book. I have read a great deal about Teddy Roosevelt, but nothing about Taft or the journalists of their time. The book is written in Goodwin’s easy to read style with copious notes.
It reinforced my beliefs about Roosevelt being intelligent, aggressive, egotistical, political, charismatic and adventurous. I don’t mean that these were all necessarily bad traits, but made for an interesting man. He knew how to use the press at a time when most politicians avoided them like the plague. At times, though, he was his own worst enemy resulting in the Democrats gaining control of the White House and Congress.
Based on what I read in the book, William Howard Taft was intelligent, reserved, thoughtful, uncomfortable with politics, friendly and tried to avoid controversy whenever possible. He allowed himself to be maneuvered into the presidency when his true path was to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
S.S McClure and his band of reporters brought forth many issues into the light of day causing some immediate change and some that was delayed for a number of years due to Roosevelt’s sometimes cautious approach to working with the powers that be whether in Congress or Industry. I did appreciated reading about these individuals and the dedication that they gave to their articles.
I would recommend this book for anyone who is a student of U.S. history especially if you are interested in the attempts at trust busting, improving working conditions and the political climate at the start of the 20th Century.