|Kirkus Reviews Features David Pietrusza's
1920: The Year of the Six Presidents
in "Best Books of 2007" Issue
Kirkus Reviews has featured award-winning author David Pietrusza's
1920: The Year of the Six Presidents in its "Best Books of 2007" issue.
"Pietrusza," notes Kirkus, "ably navigates the paths of six
presidents--and the cast of thousands around them--who combined to
comprise a significant part of the backdrop of the 1920 political
conventions and election."
1920 narrates the riveting story of the presidential election of 1920,
among history's most dramatic. Uniquely, six once-and-future
presidents--Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge,
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Theodore
Roosevelt--jockeyed for the White House. With American voters
choosing between the Wilsonian legacy and his League of Nations
versus Harding's more isolationist stance, this election would shape
modern America's course like no other.
The election saw unprecedented levels of publicity--the Republican
Party outspent the Democrats by 4 to 1--and it was the first to generate
extensive newsreel coverage and to utilize modern advertising
techniques. It was also the first election in which all women could vote
and to have its result broadcast on radio. Meanwhile, the 1920 census
revealed that America had become an urban nation--automobiles, mass
production, chain stores, and easy credit were transforming the
economy and America was limbering up for the Roaring Twenties, one
of the most spectacular decades in its history. 1920 saw cracks emerge
in the once solid Jim Crow system while the Ku Klux Klan incited
hatred against Catholics, blacks, and Jews. Prohibition took effect; the
Palmer Raids arrested more than 6,000 radicals; authorities charged
Sacco and Vanzetti with murder; and political terrorism first invaded
lower Manhattan when a bomb rocked Wall Street; Socialist
presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs garnered nearly a million
votes--from his Atlanta jail cell; and both major party campaigns
exploded with sex scandals.
Pietrusza's riveting new work presents a dazzling panorama of
ambitions, plots, and counterplots--a picture of modern America at the
Earlier, in a starred review, Kirkus Reviews praised 1920 as "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."
Publishers Weekly calls 1920 "absorbing . . . a broad, satisfying
political and social history, in the style of Doris Kearns Goodwin."
Bloomberg Radio calls 1920 as "a terrific and fun read."
Booklist terms 1920 "an ably popular treatment that fans of campaign
histories will enjoy."
The Seattle Times calls 1920 "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."
The Denver Post notes that 1920 is "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."
Ann Compton of ABC News calls 1920 "a very vivid portrait of each
of these presidents."
President George W. Bush praises 1920 as "a fine job in capturing the
personalities of an interesting cast of political characters and the era in
which they lived."
Karl Rove praised 1920 as "A great read--chock full of great insights
and brilliant portraits. Thanks for a wonderful volume . . a great read."
David O. Stewart, author of the best-selling The Summer of 1787:
The Men Who Invented the Constitution hails 1920 as "a rich and
compelling narrative of American politics."
1920: The Year of the Six Presidents, published originally by Carroll
& Graf and now by Basic Books, is an Alternate Selection of the
History Book Club.
Pietrusza's biography of gambler Arnold Rothstein, Rothstein: The Life,
Times and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World
Series, was nominated for a prestigious Edgar Award (Best Fact Crime
Book Category) by the Mystery Writers of America.
Pietrusza's earlier work, Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge
Kenesaw Mountain Landis (Diamond Communications), won the 1998
CASEY Award as best baseball book of the year.
Author David Pietrusza has appeared on such national outlets as NPR,
The History Channel, C-SPAN BookTV, Bloomberg Radio, The Fox
News Channel, ESPN Classic, ABC, ESPN-2, ESPN-Radio, the
Comcast Network, and The Tim McCarver Show.
Included in Kirkus's best non-fiction books of 2007 are works by such
authors as David Halberstam, Walter Isaacson, Joseph. J. Ellis, J. M.
Coetzee, William Vollmann, Rick Atkinson, and Susan Faludi.
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