Final part of book review
Friday, May 24, 2019
After introducing us to the four presidents as children, and helping us to understand their character development, Doris Kearns Goodwin then describes the major crisis that each man faced during his presidency. In response, each of them undertook bold action - and in doing so, succeeded in making history.
For Lincoln, of course, the crisis was the Civil War. It began as a war for unity of the country - to prevent the south from seceding - but the purpose was expanded or changed mid-war when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves. With the union winning the war, there would now be freedom for slaves.
Lincoln had all his life been opposed to slavery, believing it was morally wrong, even when that belief was not popular.
Theodore Roosevelt dealt with a prolonged national coal strike that threatened a severe hardship for the public, denying them a source of heat for the upcoming winter months. He inserted himself on behalf of the American people, then he brought the two opposing sides together, and maneuvered a way for them to compromise with a face-saving successful outcome for everyone.
Franklin Roosevelt took office during the Great Depression - and put in place the New Deal's work programs and the bank regulations that helped the nation get back on track economically.
These are very brief descriptions of the presidents' accomplishments - without any of the details that Goodman included to display their talents in communicating and coordinating with people to solve problems.
Lyndon Johnson was included in the book because of his accomplishments with the Great Society - removing some of the barriers to racial integration - especially in the South.
The VietNam war was mentioned as a failure for Johnson, something he very much regretted.
The book was a pleasure to read, and I highly recommend it. Goodwin wrote each section like a story, complete with conflict and suspense leading up to the conclusion. She included details and insights about each man that add considerably to our understanding of history.
I am now interested in reading more about Abraham Lincoln. He truly was an extraordinary man in every way.
Also, Eleanor Roosevelt has always interested me. I may now read more about her as well.