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On the eve of his inauguration as President, Woodrow Wilson commented, It would be the irony of fate if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign affairs As America was drawn into the Great War in Europe, Wilson used his scholarship, his principles, and the political savvy of his advisers to overcome his ignorance of world affairs and lead the country out of isolationism The product of his efforts his vision of the United States as a nation uniquely suited for moral leadership by virtue of its democratic tradition is a view of foreign policy that is still in place today Acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist H W Brands offers a clear, well informed, and timely account of Wilson s unusual route to the White House, his campaign against corporate interests, his struggles with rivals at home and allies abroad, and his decline in popularity and health following the rejection by Congress of his League of Nations Wilson emerges as a fascinating man of great oratorical power, depth of thought, and purity of intention Having read many of H.W Brands works, I found this book was written with that same Brands style I ve grown to enjoy so much It is a narrative of Wilson s life, including his youth and adolescence, governorship, presidency, and post presidential years Like Brands other books, this one had me on the edge of my seat, unable to put the book down at times.That being said, this book is only 139 pages sans notes and index It s broadly written and lacks the detail of a thicker, traditional in depth biography After finishing this book I was still thirsty to learn about this captivating president.One feature I really liked about this book is the section near the end entitled Selected Bibliography Not only does Brands list over 30 works about Wilson, he adds brief comments about each one such as The finest single volume biography Sympathetic but objective Another simply reads Handle with care Thanks to this list of additional readings, I found another book with much detail that I am currently reading While it covers depth, it s quite boring in comparison because it just doesn t have that Brands style.To Brands credit, I think the brevity of this book is at least partially because it is one book of the multiple volume The American Presidents series edited by Arthur Schlesinger there may have been some editing or length issues to make this book uniform with the rest of the series.At any rate, Brands Woodrow Wilson is the best book for learning about the president overall for starters If you still want detail, skim through the comments in the Selected Bibliography to find a book that interests you.One nice feature of the hardcover versions of titles in The American Presidents series is that they have included a reproduction of that president s signature embossed into the front cover. I did not know much about Woodrow Wilson and H W Brands gave me an excellent introduction He was a gentleman, a patriot and an intellect He was ahead of his time in trying to get the American people to support a plan that would become the United Nations following World War II. Many people ask when they found out that I m a political scientist When has a political scientist ever affected politics Frankly, there are quite a few who have done so think Henry Kissinger, for instance But, above all, there is Woodrow Wilson He served as President of the American Political Science Association and wrote a series of works that are still viewed as classics in the study of politics and public administration.This biography, another of those brief looks at presidents in The American Presidents series, does its job well While I agree with other reviewers that this is such a brief volume that it glosses over much of Wilson s career, the series is what it is And I think it somewhat unfair to criticize the book for working within the parameters imposed upon it.That said, this is a capable biography I think a little information about his early career, his life as an academic, an academic administrator, and governor may be covered too briefly even for this series But that is not atypical.The book does give a sense of his persona aloofness, stubbornness, rigidity, certitude, erudition, persuasive ability and how this helped him succeed, but also could lead him to take stands that hurt his cause.The volume lays out the accomplishments with which he is associated, advancing the progressive agenda, enunciating a political perspective The New Freedom , and the like It also addresses his foreign policy from the not terribly successful Mexican adventure to his leadership of the country in World War I to his efforts to transform global governance after the war note his 14 points and his effort to establish a meaningful League of Nations.He ran into political opposition with the League The book does a nice job even with its brevity on this score explaining why he failed and how the effort here plus preexisting medical problems led to his breakdown and the strange last months of his presidency.There were contradictions with Wilson his Southern background was associated with racism, even as his ideals led him to assist workers throughout the country with his Progressive policies If you want a quick introduction to Wilson that nonetheless provides some understanding of his presidency, you could do a lot worse than visiting this volume. A fine biography, by a very fluent author, on a fascinating subject I much appreciate the indepth knowledge I know have of Woodrow Wilson a man way ahead of the rest of Humanity on Spiritual Principles I also enjoyed that it was written by H,W Brands, as he is a Professor at The University of Texas, and I am a migrated Austinite Brands has quite a vocabulary kept my dictionary app very busy o First, I would not recommend this book if one wishes to learn even a sketch of Wilson s life and or presidency So much of what he accomplished is not mentioned at all This was one in this series I most looked forward to reading and was profoundly disappointed There is simply not much else to say which is in keeping with how I felt when I discovered I had come to the end only to be left hanging with the desire for. Great reading for college Though this seems to be a good overview, it is not sufficient for an in depth history. H.W Brands is an excellent writer I had read his biographies of Ben Franklin, Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt and I expected a strong biography of Wilson The book did not disappoint Unlike his other lengthier biographies, Brands here telescopes Wilson s life into 139 pages which fits the format of the American Presidents Series He covers Wilson s life prior to the presidency in only 25 pages and spends the rest of the book on the complicated years 1914 1920 The amount of material on Wilson s early life is less than that typically seen in other biographies in this series but it covers the high points Brands presentation of Wilson s presidential years is as complete as one can get for a biography of this size The whole book is well written, easy to follow and keeps the reader interested This is an ideal introduction to the years of one of the most important 20th century presidents. You must guard your expectations on a biography especially of a two term president that only reads 138 pages However, I thought that H.W Brands could add his typical free flowing style and story telling ability to make a completely satisfying short read Unfortuantely, Brands delivers his least inspired performance in telling the story of Wilson Obviously, the context of the project a short taste on the life of Wilson curtailed Brands style, which I found to be my biggest disappointment As a whole the life of Wilson is fascinating a great turning point in the life of liberals While Wilson would certainly not be considered a liberal by today s standards Wilson implemented the 8 hour work day, the FTC, and stiffened anti trust laws not to mention a monstrous epidemnic of the flu and oh yeah World War I Unfortunately most of these issues are just briefly touched on The flu epidemic was not even mentioned As a whole I found this to be a fair brief glimpse into the life of Wilson However, I would have love to read one of Brand s standard 400 pagers on the life of Wilson.