The Year of the Six Presidents
A Selection of the History Book Club
Basic Books ISBN # 0786716223
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 crossroads.
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
Publishers Weekly calls 1920 "absorbing . . . a broad,
satisfying political and social history, in the style of Doris Kearns
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
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
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
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
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