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An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover [Hardcover]

Richard Norton Smith

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book for all presidential history buffs. 24 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Smith does a nice job of showing Hoover as both a politician and a dedicated fund raiser for a variety of charities. He explains in detail many of the problems Hoover faced while in office, and that the depression was not "cured" by FDR as many people would have you believe. Obviously, there is an element of bias in Smith's work given that he is the curator for the Gerald Ford museum and a devout Republican. But, he does provide a balance of Hoover's good and bad points; apparrently he wasn't the easiest to get along with which makes sense given his difficulty in dealing with Congress. I wish the book had more detail regarding Hoover's upbringing, although Smith in the introduction noted that was not his intention. I think more background into Hoover as a child and his religious heritage would help put some of his actions and philosophies into better perspective. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and have gained more respect for this "uncommon man."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Herbert Hoover 10 Dec 2010
By Rohn W. Bishop - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An Uncommon Man is a great biography of Herbert Hoover, written by the best presidential historian alive. If you have an interest to learn about President Hoover's life, from early childhood in West Branch, Iowa, his days at Stanford, traveling the world in mining, relief efforts following floods, Secretary of Commerce, President of the United States, and 30 years as former President this book has it all. In great detail.

It goes into great detail about the events of his Presidency 1929-1933.

Read the book and ask yourself if there was much he could do during the depression.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally, a nonrevisionist account 12 Dec 2012
By likes good books, music, movies - Published on Amazon.com

Remember simplistic high school and college history classes: "Hoover started the Great Depression. FDR saved America..." The author presents a full-orbed Hoover, warts and all, long overdue. Full of interesting ancedotes, such as FDR successfully campaigning against Hoover in 1932 by continually demonizing him as "a socialist," and Hoover's push to save redwood groves and scrap the Navy's ships to fund aid to the needy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "MIster, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again" 24 Oct 2012
By Dr.Stanley Toompas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As I dived into this thoroughly written text,and learned about this great humanitarian, I found myself engulfed by the theme song to the 1970's classic TV hit "All in the Family"........."Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again!"
As I had hoped, this book has made me much more knowledgeable concerning this great man and past President. A wonderful person who had a most wonderful life. Interesting that his life span was very nearly the exact same as Winston Churchill's!!! Both Hoover and Churchill were born approximately 9 years after Lincoln was assassinated, and died about 1 year after Kennedy was assassinated!!!!!
If you would divide the book into fourths, I must admit the first half is engaging, that the 3rd quartile is somewhat arduous, but the final fourth is interesting and enlightening.

Dr. Stanley E. Toompas, Optometrist
and author of "I'm the One the Other Isn't"
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Balanced Bio on Hoover 14 April 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I looked high, low and wide for a month or so for a balanced bio on Herbert Hoover. The general trouble with bios is they often take a strong pro or con view of their subjects, and that seemed to be especially true of bios on Hoover. Judging from reviews and excerpts from Richard Norton Smith's 1983 account of Hoover's life, I bought it and read it. I do believe it's a well-balanced view of Mr. Hoover, at least the best I could find.

Smith doesn't hesitate to criticize or compliment Hoover, always using facts to back up what he says. Hoover inherited the Great Depression seven or eight months after taking office. His critics insist he could have done more to head off the nation's worst-ever financial crisis, pointing out all that Franklin Roosevelt did from the day he took office until his death. Yet none of FDR's New Deal measures overcame the Great Depression. It ended with the beginning of World War II as the nation as a whole ramped up production and the economy to fight a vast and bloody two-front war across both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. So unfortunately Hoover still usually gets the blame for the Great Depression and FDR gets the credit for overcoming it.

This bio covers all of Hoover's life, from boyhood as an orphan to his death. It captures his life as a student at Stanford, his profession as an outstanding engineer and manager, his service in World War I to Woodrow Wilson and later to Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. And we find out why he was so revered in Europe. The book also covers his family life, including his highly-intelligent and well-educated wife.

I wrote a more informed review right after I read the book, but discovered today it didn't get posted here, probably because of some mistake I made when I went back and edited it. Anyway, this 30-something-year-old bio is truly informative, clearly written, interesting and worth your time if you have an interest in Hoover and much of the nation's history from about 1910 to his death. Cheers x 3 for Richard North Smith. I look forward to reading some of his other books, too.
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