A dazzling panorama of presidential personalities,
ambitions, plots and counter-plots—and of a
newly-modern America at the crossroads—
grounded in solid historical research, insightful
social commentary, a compelling and innovative
structure, and riveting historical profiles.

In 1920, a record six past, present, or future chief
executives eye the great prize of the Presidency, each
with a unique style and vision of the office and the

Theodore Roosevelt:
The Rough Rider himself.
President. Historian. Cowboy. Police Commissioner.
Trust-Buster. Explorer. Naturalist. Big-Game Hunter.
Noble Prize-winner. He has been president once—and
wants the job again. Only the hand of God can keep
him from the White House in 1920.

Woodrow Wilson: Brilliant, eloquent, progressive, and
self-confident. But also bigoted, self-centered,
stubborn, and messianic. He desperately plans for a
League of Nations to prevent future wars, but lacks the
diplomatic and political skills to sell the idea either at
home or abroad. In the bargain, he fatally
compromises article after article of his Fourteen Points
and sows the seeds of another war. "Woodrow Wilson
is an exile from the hearts of his people," says Eugene
V. Debs, "The betrayal of his ideals makes him the
most pathetic figure in the world." An October 1919
stroke leaves him too crippled to lead the nation, but
the nation is never told. Fantastically, he clings to
hopes of an unprecedented third term.

Warren G. Harding: Ohio small-town newspaper
editor, Republican politician, and serial adulterer. His
strengths: he looks like a president, sounds like a
president (if you don't listen too carefully), and is
sufficiently vague on the issues to be nominated.
"America's present need," he intones, "is not heroics,
but healing; not nostrums but normalcy." America

Calvin Coolidge: Silent Cal. The taciturn Vermonter
who became  Massachusetts's coldly efficient
governor. His actions during the September 1919
Boston police strike ("There is no right to strike against
the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime")  
make him presidential timber. In Chicago, the GOP
convention stampedes and anoints him its vice-
presidential candidate.

Herbert Hoover: The Great Engineer. International
gold mining adventurer. Multi-millionaire. Savior of
war-ravaged Europe's starving masses. A political
progressive and member of the Wilson administration.
A national hero. In 1920 Hoover wants to be president
but has one big problem: he can't decide if he's a
Republican or a Democrat.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Wilson's ambitious, but not yet
properly-seasoned, under secretary of the Navy. If the
Republicans can't nominate a dead Roosevelt, the
Democrats will nominate a live one—Franklin—for
"A rousing chronicle. . . Pietrusza . . .
adds color and dimension with smart
discussions of Prohibition, women's
suffrage, immigration, civil rights, the
League of Nations and labor strife, and
he offers animated portraits of William
Jennings Bryan, Carrie Chapman Catt,
Henry Ford, Marcus Garvey, Sacco and
Vanzetti, William Randolph Hearst, H.L.
Mencken and many others. A hugely
fascinating episode in American history,
told with insight and great humor, by an
author in command of his subject."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"absorbing . . . a broad, satisfying
political and social history, in the style of
Doris Kearns Goodwin."
Publishers Weekly

"David Pietrusza has a gift for making the
past both real and dramatically gripping,
and in 1920 he has an extraordinary cast
of characters with which to work his
magic. Imagine a year when Herbert
Hoover was a global hero, and FDR a
callow bit player; when a repudiated and
physically broken president fantasized
about vindication at the polls; and millions
of women casting their first votes helped
elect Hollywood's idea of a president,
one Warren Gamaliel Harding. Add
those temperamental opposites Theodore
Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge to the
mix, and you have one helluva historical
dinner party. An unforgettable group
portrait of America on the brink of
—Richard Norton Smith

"a colorful, nonacademic account . . .
Most of all, there are the characters.
Pietrusza draws them sharply: the
imperious Wilson, the obliging Harding,
the dour and honest Coolidge and the
ambitious and dissembling Franklin
Roosevelt. Fans of political history will
enjoy this book."
Seattle Times

"Fascinating and compelling . . . Highly
Library Journal

"It will blow your mind . . . a fantastic
—Glenn Beck

"I just finished 1920 and liked it a lot . . .
a fine job in capturing the personalities of
an interesting cast of political characters
and the era in which they lived."
—President George W. Bush

"The President passed on your book
after he finished it . . . I dipped into 1920
and found myself devouring it in one
weekend. A great read—chock full of
great insights and brilliant portraits.
Thanks for a wonderful volume . . a great
—Karl Rove

"An ably popular treatment that fans of
campaign histories will enjoy."

"full of fascinating and colorful anecdotes
about an election at the turning point of
American history."
—The American Spectator

"If you buy ANY political book this
Xmas get 1920 by David Pietrusza - The
Year of 6 Presidents- Best political book
I read in 2012"
—Roger Stone

"A terrific and fun read."
Bloomberg Radio

"More than just a story of six men who
either already had been president or
would be, this is the story of America as
it moved into the modern age."
Denver Post

"a very vivid portrait of each of these
—Ann Compton, ABC News

"a superb recounting of a largely
forgotten political season"
—Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL)

"Pietrusza is a very gifted writer with a
marvelous eye for anecdote. Even a
reader familiar with American electoral
history will learn things from this lively
history, and a reader unfamiliar with the
politics of the period will enjoy an
engaging introduction to an unusually
complicated political cycle."
—David Frum, National Review Online

"Terrifically-researched, wonderfully-
—William Schulz, Former Washington
Bureau Chief & Executive Editor,
Reader's Digest

"Through a lens trained on a long-ago
election, David Pietrusza's
1920: The
Year of Six Presidents
, delivers a rich
and compelling narrative of American
politics.  Exploring a year when giant
figures of American history were waxing
and waning, he deftly explains how we
ended up with a presidential showdown
between two largely unknown—yet
surprisingly randy—editors of small-town
Ohio newspapers, which Warren
Harding won principally by being "nice."
David O. Stewart, author of
The Summer of 1787:
The Men Who Invented the

"Sweeping and original."
—The History Book Club

1920: The Year of the Six
, writer David Pietrusza shows
the right way to pull together disparate
characters into a coherent narrative. . . .
this book portrays an America that has
stopped looking backward and has
begun to craft a new country and a new
world role."
The Washington Times

"An absolutely wonderful book . . . I
loved [it], absolutely marvelous,
absolutely wonderful research . . . just a
great read, marvelously done, brilliantly
constructed and really integrates the
entire story of one year—1920. . . . if I
were teaching a history class of early
twentieth century America this is the
book I would use. . . . It reads like a
novel but it's fact . . . a great book."
—John Rothmann
KGO (San Francisco)

"I just love
1920: The Year of Six
by David Pietrusza. It's not
historical fiction, but plain old history that
zips along like good fiction. I just wish I'd
read it before I wrote my book."
—Jonah Goldberg,
National Review Online

" . . . a campaign like no other before or
since. David Pietrusza, a seasoned crime-
and-mystery writer, builds the suspense
of the 1920 campaign so effectively that
the reader easily suspends, for the
moment, knowledge of the outcome, as if
it were still about to happen. . .  
[Pietrusza] organizes the story in a way
that produces high drama."
The Weekly Standard

—Sean Trende,
Senior Elections Analyst,
Real Clear Politics

"I loved
—John Gizzi,    
Political Editor,
Human Events

"I  agree with
Jonah GoldbergI wish I
had read it before I wrote my book."
—Burton W. Folsom Jr.
Author of  
"New Deal or Raw: Deal?:
How FDR's Economic Legacy Has
Damaged America

"Informative and captivating, 1920 offers
a beguiling look into one of the most
tumultuous and important—yet curiously
overlooked—presidential elections of the
twentieth century. David Pietrusza writes
vividly and engagingly enough to make it
all sound like a particularly engrossing
political novel, except this one really
—Robert Spencer, director of
Watch and author of the New York
bestsellers The Politically
Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the
Crusades) and The Truth About

"complex and satisfying"
—AudioFile Magazine

"With a storyteller's eye for characters
and drama, Pietrusza re-creates America
at a post-World War I turning point,
when the country wanted steady
leadership but got scandal instead.
—Washington CEO Magazine

"outstanding . . . fascinating"
—Al Kresta, Ave Maria Radio

"a fine and lively recommendation both
for high school and college collections
strong in American history and politics in
particular, or even public lending
—California Bookwatch

"David Pietrusza's new book—1920 The
Year of Six Presidents
—is awesome!
David writes history with such clarity and
insights, you don't want to put the book
down. You'll feel the same way."
—Pat Williams
Author and Vice President,
Orlando Magic

"Pietrusza's volume brings the vivid
history of the 1920 election to life. Both
entertaining and insightful, it provides
exceptionally well crafted "mini"
biographies of the six presidents and how
their careers intersected that year. The
narrative is rich and compelling as it
peeks into the backrooms and describes
the national mood. Pietrusza's handling of
the personalities, issues, trends and
techniques that went on to define
American politics in the first half of the
20th century is to be recommended to
anyone with an interest in presidential
biography or U.S. political history."
—Dr. Ron Faucheux
Author; Former Editor-in-Chief,
Campaigns and Elections Magazine
and Campaign Insider newsletter;
Former Louisiana legislator and
Secretary of Commerce

"An incredible read . . . Five stars from
this corner on a remarkable piece of
—Reagan Smith, WFLA (Tampa)

"David Pietrusza's remarkable new book
1920: The Year of Six Presidents is
exactly the way history should be written.
It is riveting, involving, filled with
verifiable fact and compelling anecdote. It
makes the era come alive [and]
challenges presumptions about well-
known figures . . ."
—Glenn Raucher
West Side Y's Writer's Voice

"fast paced, highly readable"
—Caffeinated Politics Blog

"grabs you from the first sentence"
—Coy Barefoot, WAMI Radio

"detailed and insightful"
—Ohio Valley Educational

"a compelling narrative . . .well-written,
well-researched . . . well worth the time
of anyone interested in American political

"FASCINATING book, one of the best
I've read in years.  . . .  I think I might
have a new favorite living author."
—Michael Koolidge,
Host "The Michael Koolidge Show"

"wonderful, in-depth"

Dr. Joe Harder,
Macomb County
Community College

"a lively chronicle"


"terrific . . . a wild gallop"
—Bill Bodkin, HeadButler.com

"I have read some of the background of
Roosevelt's and Taft's relationship, and
actually been moved to tears by David
Pietrusza's account of it in his superb

"I was so hooked after I read
1920: The
Year of the Six Presidents
—Malcolm Farnsworth
Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt
David Pietrusza's

The Year of the Six Presidents

A Selection of the History Book Club
Kirkus Reviews "Best Books of 2007"
Basic Books                                                                              ISBN # 0786716223
David Pietrusza on C-SPAN's BookTV (After Words)
From the Publisher:

The presidential election of 1920 was among history's
most dramatic as six once-and-future presidents—
Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Harding, Hoover, and Teddy
and Franklin Roosevelt—jockeyed for the White House.
With voters choosing between Wilson's League of
Nations and Harding's frontporch isolationism, 1920's
election shaped modern America like no other.

Women won the vote. Republicans outspent Democrats
by 4 to 1, as voters witnessed the first extensive
newsreel coverage, modern campaign advertising, and
results broadcast on radio. We had become an urban
nation—automobiles, mass production, chain stores,
and easy credit transformed the economy.
1920 paints a
vivid portrait of America, beset by the Red Scare, jailed
dissidents, Prohibition, smoke-filled rooms, bomb-
throwing terrorists, and the Klan, gingerly crossing
modernity's threshold.
1920 By the Numbers :

  • 100,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan
  • 556 radicals deported to Russia
  • 531 electoral votes
  • 61 lynchings
  • 44 ballots at the Democrat National Convention
  • 14 Points
  • 10 ballots at the Republican National Convention
  • 7 First Ladies
  • 6 Presidents in the running
  • 4 Presidential mistresses
  • 2.7% Beer
  • 2 Constitutional amendments
  • 2 handbills alleging the next president was black
  • 2 Italian anarchists arrested for a murder in South
    Braintree, Massachusetts
  • 1 President of Africa
  • 1 Attorney General's home bombed
  • 1 Wall Street bombing
  • 1 Presidential candidate residing in Atlanta
    Federal Penitentiary
  • 1 Catholic placed in nomination for the presidency
  • 1 commercial Radio Station on the air
  • 1 illegitimate child
  • 1 lawsuit by a Vice-Presidential nominee
  • 1 Presidential son-in-law
  • 1 fraudulent Pulitzer Prize
  • 1 League of Nations
  • 1 World War
Named by Richard Norton Smith on
C-SPAN as one of his favorite presidential
campaign books.
#1 Amazon Sales Ranking in Five Non-Fiction Categories
#1 Amazon Sales Ranking in Five Non-Fiction Categories

"an unbelievable book you should read"Glenn Beck
A Selection of the:

  • Book-of-the-Month Club
  • History Book Club
  • The Literary Guild
  • Quality Paperback Book Club
  • Doubleday Book Club
  • Military Book Club
  • Scientific American Book Club
  • An audiobook format from
    audible.com, narrated by Paul
  • Nook edition.
  • Kobo edition.
the 1920 presidential election. Six former, current and
future commanders-in-chief played direct or
supporting roles in the post-World War I drama, each
influencing the campaign's direction in his way. In
1920: The Year of the Six Presidents historian David
Pietrusza masterfully weaves the narrative of a
campaign set amid the background of a rapidly
changing American electorate—more urbanized and
less rural than ever before, increasingly mobile through
the rise of the automobile, wary of international
entanglements after the carnage on the battlefields of
Europe and adapting to new waves of immigration.

"Republicans had the upper hand amid this political
tumult, with the team of Ohio Sen. Warren G. Harding
and Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge romping to
victory against and under funded and out-gunned
Democratic ticket, the understudy role anchored by
future President D. Roosevelt. Herbert Hoover, a
national hero for his post-war relief efforts in Europe
also made a late bid for the GOP nod. And hanging
over the specter of the contested Republican
nomination was the late President Theodore
Roosevelt, who likely would have been the GOP
standard-bearer had he not died in early 1919.
President Woodrow Wilson himself desperately
wanted to a third term, but his physical infirmity and
divisions among Democrats ruled out that possibility.

"In addition to the six presidents Pietrusza brilliantly
brings to life a cast of rising stars, party hacks,
backroom dealers and assorted other characters
whose names even most political junkies are likely to
scratch their heads at. Republican presidential
aspirants like General Leonard Wood and Illinois
Gov. Frank Lowden have been largely lost to history
but Pietrusza deftly describes how a few different
moves amid the backroom dealings of the Chicago
convention might have brought about a different result
than the scandal-plagued Harding Administration.

1920: The Year of the Six Presidents is
essential to discover how presidents were really
chosen in the pre-television and internet age. This
should be required reading for college political science
and history courses."
David Mark, author of Going Dirty: The Art of
Negative Campaigning and senior editor at

"amazing stuff"
—Matt K. Lewis

"Pietrusza offers a lively chronicle of a country
emerging from World War I into a precarious and
heady sense of 20th-century possibility."

"very enjoyable"
Betsy Newmark,
Four-time winner of the Time Warner Cable
National Teachers Award

"a narrative of intrigue and interaction"

"History books walk a fine line and it’s difficult for
historians to be informative and entertaining. Pietrusza
makes it look easy.
1920: The Year of Six
is not merely a great read; it’s a great
experience. Theodore White’s The Making of the
President series might be the standard that books
about Presidential campaigns are measured against,
but Pietrusza’s 1920 gives White a run for his money."
—Anthony Bergen, deadpresidents.tumblr.com

"a riveting read that brings back to life the Roaring
—Ed Tant, onlineathens. com (Athens Banner-

"a book that I simply loved . . . fascinating, filled with
intimate details . . ."
—France Kessing, KDVS Radio

"amazing . . .For anyone seriously interested in seeing
today's Iowa Caucuses/ New Hamp. Primaries/Super
Tuesdays, they MUST, as a student of yesterday's
political intrigue, read "1920"

"a wealth of data"
—Perspectives: A Journal of Political Inquiry

—Columbia (OR) Daily News

"Pietrusza does an excellent job of painting colorful
and surprising portraits of these six men."
—William L. Wunder, suite101.com

—The LuLace Political Report

"An amazing convergence of politicians, policy wonks,
and future politicians. Outstanding read."

"a pertinent read"
—Kara Watts

"a fun read . . . you're really going to enjoy this book."
—Paul Murphy,
Co-host of NewsTalk 790 Today, WAYY

"Crackling fun is not the usual description most people
use for historical accounts but David Pietrusza is not
most historians. He sure does like the 1920s and
presidential campaigns. In this book, he was able to
do both."
—Blogger Jowana Bueser

"a compelling narrative that brings to life events whose
consequences reverberated through the 20th Century."

"A good read"
—Bill Gruver, The Arizona Report