Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Herbert Hoover: The American Presidents Series: The 31st President, 1929-1933

My second book for June is Herbert Hoover: The American Presidents Series: The 31st President, 1929-1933 by William E. Leuchtenburg. This book fits into my long term project to read books about all of the presidents.

I was probably more surprised by Herbert Hoover's life story than any other President that I have read so far. His parents were Quakers in Iowa. Orphaned as a teenager, he was raised by his uncle in the Pacific Northwest. Hoover graduated from Stanford with a mining engineering degree. He worked as a mining engineer in Australia and China.

Settling in London, Hoover was tapped to lead an effort to provide humanitarian relief and feed Europe during World War I. He then served as the Commerce Secretary under both Harding and Coolidge. Hoover led the relief efforts for the devastating 1927 Mississippi River flood.

Hoover's blind spot as president was that he believed that local and state governments and private charities should lead the effort to take care of people during the great depression. He was largely against using government spending to pull the country out of the depression. Hoover was crushed by FDR in the 1932 election.

Hoover had a little renaissance when Truman and Eisenhower were president. Under both presidents, He lead the Hoover Commission that recommended changes designed to strengthen the president's ability to manage the federal government. He died at the age of 90 in 1964.

I have read a number of the American Presidents Series books. While I have enjoyed them, they often left me wanting more. I give this book a solid "B", but I need to go back and find a more comprehensive book about Hoover...

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