Provocative, brilliantly written, and exhaustively researched, this book is the first definitive study of the presidency of one of America's most maligned and poorly understood Chief Executives. Born in a Quaker hamlet in Iowa and orphaned at nine, Herbert Hoover had already risen to wealth and global fame as an international mining engineer, the savior of Belgium during the Great War, Woodrow Wilson's Food Administrator, and perhaps the greatest Secretary of Commerce in American history by the time he assumed the presidency. Modest, shy, humble, with a subtle sense of humor, he lacked the self-promotional style of professional politicians and eschewed political invective. While in the cabinet he had helped to engineer the prosperity of the 1920s and vainly warned of an economy overheated by speculation, but the ensuing Wall Street Crash of 1929 would come to overwhelmingly define his legacy. Combining public and private resources, he made history as the first president to pit government action against the economic cycle, creating a precedent that would be employed by his successor and all other future presidents. His economic measures mitigated the effects of the Great Depression, yet they failed to end it. In foreign policy he sponsored naval disarmament and made world peace his priority. Unfairly painted as a miserly misanthrope and the architect of the stock market crash, he lost the 1932 campaign to Franklin D. Roosevelt by a slightly larger margin than he had defeated Al Smith in 1928. Glen Jeansonne's study sweeps away the cobwebs of neglect from Hoover's presidency. His lively prose humanizes Hoover for us and allows a greater understanding of our thirty-first president, one that is more valuable now than ever before.