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When the Cheering Stopped: The Last Years of Woodrow Wilson [Paperback]

Gene Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co (Jun 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688060110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688060114
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,555,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"When The Cheering Stopped" presents the fascinating conclusion of Woodrow Wilson's career and life. Beginning with brief backgrounds of Wilson and his second wife, Edith Galt, the bulk of the book is the story of the Versailles Peace Conference, the fight for the League of Nations and Wilson's stroke and period as an invalid. Much of this work covers the tragic seventeen month period during which presidential leadership and action were lacking from the American scene.

After the death of his first wife, Ellen, Wilson took less than a year to meet and marry Edith Galt, a widow who immediately captured his affections. Their courtship was the stuff of rumors, but, rejecting advice that the wedding be deferred until after the 1916 elections, they married in December 1915.

With the coming of the Armistice, the Wilsons traveled to Europe for the Peace Conference. Greeted by the public as a savior, Wilson found the heads of government to be less deferential. Wilson found himself in tough negotiations during which he achieved successes and suffered defeats. His overriding desire for the League of Nations forced him to compromise on other issues in order to bring home the Covenant of the League.

Upon his return to Washington, Wilson found strong Senate opposition to the League. The ensuing battle over reservations to the Peace Treaty and the Covenant drove the President to take his case to the people in a coast to coast train journey during which he strove to rally support for his proposals.

As the trip progressed, the long hours, heat and travel took their toll. On September 25, 1919, Wilson lost his place and broke into tears during a speech in Pueblo, Colorado. The next day at Wichita, Kansas, the President was found to be suffering from paralysis.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent research, sympathetic treatment 20 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I picked this book up for $1, and would recommend it at thirty times that amount to anyone who loves history or biography. I was vaguely aware of Wilson's life and work, but after reading this book I feel as if I knew the man personally. Well-done, mostly fair, very human -- I cried more than once.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woodrow Wilson's Final Act 5 Feb 2011
By Marc Korman - Published on Amazon.com
As the other reviewers noted, When The Cheering Stopped is an excellent telling of the last years of Woodrow Wilson essentially from the time he went to Paris for the World War I peace negotiations until his death in 1924. Those were years of marked decline for Wilson as he suffered a major political setback with the Senate's rejection of the League of Nations and a major health setback in the form of a series of embolisms that eventually led to his death. In many ways, the book suggests that they are related.

Although the book certainly treats Wilson as a great president, towering intellect, and good person, it is a little less sympathetic than other reviews may lead you to believe. The book certainly understands that, overall, the situation that developed in the last year of Wilson's presidency where he could barely function was not good for the country. Vice President Marshall and the Congress obviously should have acted more forcefully to get the president to resign or even impeach him if necessary. Partly as a result of Wilson, there is now a mechanism in the 25th Amendment to deal with an invalid president. The book does suggest Wilson had a little more functionality, at least in fleeting moments, in his final years than other sources have led me to believe. The book also condemns Wilson's second wife, Edith, by demonstrating that her vindictiveness for certain individuals such as British Ambassador Lord Grey, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Tumulty made a bad situation worse. Although you have to admire her love and loyalty to her husband, her way of expressing it led to erratic behavior from the White House.

The last third of the book is about Wilson's post-presidency, told with more detail than I thought possible. Wilson's health recovered a bit and Americans, at least in DC, expressed appreciation by applauding him at shows and lining the street to see him. This gives a somewhat happier ending to a sad, almost delusional decline by Wilson (he kept dreaming of a third term for example).
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 6 Mar 2002
By Tim Lieder - Published on Amazon.com
The strange thing about reading history books written before one was born (in this case 1964) is that that biases are all different. This book laments the collapse of the League of Nations and Woodrow Wilson. Ten years later, no one would dare write about American intervention in the world stage in quite so laudatory tones. Issues that bother modern historians such as the unconstitutional incarceration of Eugene Debs, race riots, Wilson's racism including anti-German hysteria, the Imperialism of the other League Nations as well as the anti-sedition laws get swept under the rug.
Despite the bias, this is an amazingly personal look at a man who tried to sell a great plan to the United States only to be disappointed by Congress and the American people. It discusses his illness, his lack of willingness to compromise, his ineffectiveness as a leader. It also goes into great details about his wife's role in keeping the administration afloat, although it portrays her as a vindictive shrew. There's some interesting information about his daughters (true to WASP fasion, one of his daughters tried on several strange religions before taking off to India and dying of dysentry in the 40s).
While some of the material is lacking (see first paragraph) and while the enemies of America's involvement in the League are portrayed in a rather sinister fashion, this is still an excellent read and introduction to the post-WWI history.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite biographies 22 Oct 2008
By K. R. MacMurray - Published on Amazon.com
I've been deeply interested in Wilson ever since reading this book at age 16. Nearly forty years later, it remains one of my favorites. Smith crafts a compelling portrait of one of our most intelligent Presidents, high-minded and idealistic, dedicated to peace, admirable yet ultimately tragic. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys historical biography.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rejoicing at the end ... 15 Oct 2008
By Carolyn Leonard - Published on Amazon.com
The last years of Woodrow Wilson

Reviewed by Carolyn B. Leonard
This oldie-but-goodie laments the collapse of the League of Nations and then-president Woodrow Wilson. The message is especially timely during this presidential election year.

Wilson defeated two former US presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, to win his first election in 1912 as the twenty-eighth president of the United States. Wilson used tariff, currency and anti-trust laws to prime the pump and get the economy working in 1913. He spent 1914 through 1916 trying to keep America out of the war in Europe. However by mid 1917 in his second term, this president saw war as unavoidable. He announced the country was entering the "war to end all wars." During 1818 and 1819 he worked tirelessly to promote his peace plan and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the Senate never ratified and the nation never joined the League.

After the war ended, in the hot September of 1919 the president, his second wife, his doctor and his secretary stumped the nation by rail to stir up support for the League of Nations. President Wilson, then past sixty and in his second term, was exhausted by World War I and his struggle to get the United States into his treaty of peace. Yet, he firmly believed that without the US in the League, there would soon be another even more critical World War. By seven votes, the treaty failed in the Senate. The President, against the warnings of his doctor, made a national tour to gain public support - 8,000 miles in 22 days. From Washington to California his train paused at every whistle stop for an appearance and then back east again as his voice grew steadily more hoarse. No microphones or loudspeakers were available and it was important to Wilson for the people to hear what he had to say.

Suddenly in Wichita, Kansas, his trip was cancelled -- just before his scheduled appearance in Oklahoma City 26 September 1919. Only his intimates knew why.

The stroke was so debilitating that for seventeen months the President never saw ANYONE except his doctor, and no one was allowed to see him, especially not a photographer, reporter, anyone from the public or even his cabinet members and friends. No details, no explanations.

His wife, Edith Galt, (with only a second grade education) took charge of all correspondence and actions/reactions to his cabinet. She would send their requests back each day with a note (in her 2nd grade scribble) saying, "the president says ...." To this day, no one knows if the president ever saw any of the requests or if Mrs. Wilson made all the decisions. (Perhaps she was actually the first woman president?) The Wilsons detested Vice President Thomas R. Marshall and never briefed him on the situation, so he took no part in the government actions and was never advised he was only a heartbeat away from the top office. The doctor never expected the president to survive. The American public was never allowed to know the severity of the situation. Even Wilson's secretary of state, Joe Tumulty, was banned.

Still the country survived.

The next administration - Warren G. Harding - was filled with graft, theivery, misappropriation of government funds, scandals such as the Teapot Dome. Harding is seen as one of the worst presidents in American History. His early death probably saved him from impeachment over the many scandals of his administration.

and yet our country survived. There is hope, no matter who wins this election!

Wilson's illness later led to the passing of the Twenty-fifth amendment establishing procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President as well as responding to Presidential disabilities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR GENE SMITH - He presented Mrs. Edith Harding as a shrew and a vindictive person although an extremely loyal and devoted wife. I loved the ending, though the author may have drawn it out a bit too much. The sorrow of seeing Wilson as a broken, haggard, bitter and defeated man was rewarded with Smith's revelation of the crowds starting to gather in front of his home, finally recognizing him as one of the great leaders of his time. This is cheering to anyone who has ever felt the sting of defeat.

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