“In the Days of McKinley” is Margaret Leech’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1959 biography of William McKinley. It remains one of the standard texts on this president and is indispensable to serious students of his era. Leech was a historian, author and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes. She died in 1974 at the age of eighty.
In many ways, this book is less a traditional presidential biography than a life-and-times centered around McKinley and his presidency. Although it never strays too far from McKinley, there are numerous stretches where he is only peripheral to the story – and sometimes fails to appear at all.
Leech covers McKinley’s life up to his presidential campaign in the first fifty or sixty pages. The remainder of the book’s 605 pages are dedicated to a period of about five years, ending with his assassination in 1901. The introduction to McKinley, while comparatively brief, is interesting…
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