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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: Hoover by Kenneth Whyte

I love biographies, especially when they are about “private” people in the public eye. This was a much easier task to accomplish in Hoover’s time, but still… Hoover’s name is bandied about for a number of reasons (e.g., Hoovervilles, Hoover Dam), but once I began reading this very detailed and well-written book, I realized how little I actually knew about the man himself. He has tended, I think, to be overshadowed by the significantly difficult times in which he found himself. From his humble and rather severe childhood to his years after the White House, Whyte has done a masterful job at recreating a surprisingly private life in meticulously researched detail.

There is a LOT of information here, and while it is presented in clear language and a solid writing style, it is (as other reviewers have noted) not really for the casual reader… This is a scholarly biography, not so much a narrative story. If you are serious a fan of history though, this is a marvelous book – the times Hoover lived through were fascinating ones, in terms of both domestic and international events, and there is a great deal of interesting facts and tidbits to be found in these 800+ pages.

It may seem odd to find such a short review of such a lengthy, detailed book. But a book review is not a book report – and summarizing the book would take forever, because Hoover lived through so many changes in American social, political, and economic life. Suffice to say, this is a thoroughly prepared, meticulously researched, exceedingly detailed story about the life of a man who is largely misunderstood if not altogether overlooked – yet, if for no other reason, understanding the man behind the President helps put a new, and welcome, perspective on the world Hoover not only survived in, but impacted in more ways than most of us have realized.

My review copy was provided by the Penguin First to Read program. First to Read is a destination for readers and those who love to talk about and discover new books. First to Read provides members with the chance to be the first to read the best new books, before they hit the shelves.

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