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Extended Audio Sample Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, by John Milton Cooper Jr. Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (442 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Milton Cooper Jr. Narrator: John McDonough Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The first major biography of America’s twenty-eighth president in nearly two decades, from one of America’s foremost Woodrow Wilson scholars

A Democrat who reclaimed the White House after sixteen years of Republican administrations, Wilson was a transformative president—he helped create the regulatory bodies and legislation that prefigured FDR’s New Deal and would prove central to governance through the early twenty-first century, including the Federal Reserve system and the Clayton Antitrust Act; he guided the nation through World War I; and, although his advocacy in favor of joining the League of Nations proved unsuccessful, he nonetheless established a new way of thinking about international relations that would carry America into the United Nations era. Yet Wilson also steadfastly resisted progress for civil rights, and his attorney general launched an aggressive attack on civil liberties.

Even as he reminds us of the foundational scope of Wilson’s domestic policy achievements, John Milton Cooper, Jr., reshapes our understanding of the man himself: his Wilson is warm and gracious—not at all the dour puritan of popular imagination. As the president of Princeton, his encounters with the often rancorous battles of academe prepared him for state and national politics. Just two years after he was elected governor of New Jersey, Wilson, now a leader in the progressive movement, won the Democratic presidential nomination and went on to defeat Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in one of the twentieth century’s most memorable presidential elections. Ever the professor, Wilson relied on the strength of his intellectual convictions and the power of reason to win over the American people.

John Milton Cooper, Jr., gives us a vigorous, lasting record of Wilson’s life and achievements. This is a long overdue, revelatory portrait of one of our most important presidents—particularly resonant now, as another president seeks to change the way government relates to the people and regulates the economy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A rich and thoughtful portrait of a transformative, controversial and resonant president.”

    Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning and New York Times bestselling author of American Lion

  • “An admiring and engaging work of presidential revisionism…A powerful, deeply researched and highly readable case for keeping Wilson in the top ranks of American presidents.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Woodrow Wilson] is deeply, indeed exhaustively researched, and beautifully, often movingly narrated. It is far and away the best biography of the twenty-eighth president we have and as such it is unlikely to be surpassed.” 

    Boston Globe

  • “Wilson comes alive in Cooper’s insightful and important biography…It’s easy to see why Wilson captures many imaginations. We still want to believe what Wilson believed: that there is a common right, that we can find it, and that it matters most of all.”

    Newsweek

  • “Cooper clearly admires his subject but is not blind to his faults.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Cooper exhibits complete command of his materials, a sure knowledge of the man, and a nuanced understanding of a presidency almost Shakespearean in its dimensions.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Biography/Autobiography

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Melinda Ross | 2/18/2014

    " 599 pages done! I can't say I read every word, but up until the last nine pages, I had read at least a line from every paragraph. I am grateful to be done with this book. I read it for a book group and though I admit I got engrossed at times with some of the details--it had too many details and it ruined to flow of the story. Unlike others that I discussed the book with, I actually lost some of the respect I had for Woodrow Wilson as a president by the end. I may be being to hard on him, and part of it may be the frustration with the biographer and the way he presented it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rob | 11/24/2013

    " This is well worth your time. I've always been interested in Wilson given his intellectual bent, and this will stand as the standard biography for generations. At almost 600 pages this is one long haul, but in all that time it never once got boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Joseph | 10/7/2013

    " everything and more than you need to know about Wilson. New found respect for him as far as Presidents go. Very underrated President. Nice book> "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Matt Mishkoff | 9/14/2013

    " The author is obviously a fan of Wilson, but he's not afraid to criticize the man either, which makes this book a fairly balanced account. The writing style can be quite dry, but the subject could be as well, so perhaps that's fitting. That aside, the book is very informative, and a good resource if you're looking for a single-volume history of one of our more accomplished presidents. "

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About the Author

John Milton Cooper Jr. is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of Breaking the Heart of the World: Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations and The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, among others. He has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin.