A New York Times Bestselling Author A Pulitzer Prize?winning Author A groundbreaking history of the first decade of the Progressive Era ? that heady, optimistic decade when the government first began to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters.This is the story of the long and complex friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft ? which ruptured in 1912, when they ran against each other for the presidency. It is also the story of the muckraking press, which aroused the spirit of reform that carried President Roosevelt to success while eventually destroying President Taft, who never understood how to deal with it.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2013: In an era when cooperation between the national media and the US government seems laughable, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s timely 100-year look backward explores the origins of the type of muckraking journalism that helped make America a better country. Focusing on the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and his successor, William Howard Taft--one-time colleagues and friends who later became sworn foes--Goodwin chronicles the birth of an activist press, which occurred when five of the nation’s best-ever journalists converged at McClure’s magazine and helped usher in the Progressive era. At times slow and overly meticulous, with a lot of backstory and historical minutiae, this is nonetheless a lush, lively, and surprisingly urgent story--a series of entwined stories, actually, with headstrong and irascible characters who had me pining for journalism’s earlier days. It’s a big book that cries out for a weekend in a cabin, a book to get fully lost in, to hole up with and ignore the modern world, to experience the days when newsmen and women were our heroes. --Neal Thompson