Read When the cheering stopped: The last years of Woodrow Wilson (Time reading program special edition) by Gene Smith Online


This book laments the collapse of the League of Nations and Woodrow Wilson....

Title : When the cheering stopped: The last years of Woodrow Wilson (Time reading program special edition)
Author :
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ISBN : 9780809436712
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 295 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

When the cheering stopped: The last years of Woodrow Wilson (Time reading program special edition) Reviews

  • Aaron Million
    2018-12-05 09:09

    Gene Smith chose a very apt title for his book, as that is indeed what it is about: when things collapsed, in more than one way, for Woodrow Wilson. The book focuses primarily on the period 1919-1924, the beginning of which we see Wilson making a triumphant entry into Paris. He is wildly cheered there and everywhere he goes throughout Europe. But the lovefest ends quickly as Wilson becomes embroiled in arguments and conflict with the other leaders of the Allies concerning the peace treaty to officially end WWI. Wilson's health begins to falter, and even more importantly, his mental state starts to deteriorate with him becoming paranoid and unyielding. He returns to the U.S. and almost immediately embarks on a colossal tour of the country in an effort to drum up support for American entry into the ill-fated and impotent League of Nations. A group of Senators, led by the haughty Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, is bent on killing the treaty. Smith never goes into what the actual reservations were that Lodge offered. Smith apparently assumed that anyone reading this book would know what they are. Wilson is wracked by severe headaches, is forced to cancel the trip before it was complete, and suffers a massive and debilitating stroke only a few days after returning to the White House. Seventeen months remained in his presidency, yet he remained in office. He did so, despite being almost totally incapacitated, by virtue of a cabal between his wife, Edith Bolling, and his physician, Dr. Cary Grayson. Together, they hide the real extent of Wilson's disability from virtually everyone. Meanwhile, the business of government almost grounds to a halt as important matters (Ambassadorial appointments, recognition of Costa Rica, legislation) pile up and go completely unanswered. Smith is largely sympathetic to Wilson's wife, as well as Grayson. But he focuses much more on Edith. His portrait of her is that of a devoted and selfless wife trying to save her husband's life and keep his fragile health from deteriorating any further. At one juncture, he even states that her and Grayson's operation was a "success." Well, that depends on what you are measuring as success. If he means that she helped to keep Wilson alive, then yes that would certainly qualify as a success. But if he was speaking of the presidential duties being carried out, that could only be classified as a failure.Smith's point that Edith was not seeking power and truly was just operating with her husband's best interests in mind is valid. I do not think that she was brazenly attempting to run the country or that she made decisions without seriously thinking about what he would have done had he been well. But, this was a charade and it proved costly to the country as the Red Scare by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer swung into high gear, and the Senate debates over U.S. acceptance of the treaty for the League of Nations reached a crescendo. There was nothing but silence from the White House. The people had elected Woodrow Wilson to be President, not anyone else, not even his wife. If Wilson could not effectively carry out the duties and functions of his office - and he was nowhere even close to being able to do that - then he needed to have resigned. Wilson was a physically broken man - paralyzed on his left side, confined to a wheelchair for several months, and even after that he was only able to walk (more like shuffle) with the help of a cane and someone to hold onto him. He was an invalid. But his mental deterioration was just as alarming: he could no longer focus on issues, or provide anything remotely close to the concentration required by a president. He was irrational, and no longer able to control his emotions. Wilson refused to resign, and even - incredulously - expected to be nominated for a third term in 1920! Something like this would not be able to happen today, and that is a good thing. The last part of the book concerns Wilson's brief post-presidency years. He lived slightly less than three years after leaving office. His wife and Dr. Grayson doted on him and provided him constant care. Wilson never did recover from his stroke, although a few times he was able to stand on his own. While Smith praises Edith for her selfless devotion to him, it seems to me that she comes across in all other aspects as a rather cruel and unforgiving person - nursing lifelong grudges against people over seemingly trivial matters. Grade: D+

  • Raymond
    2018-12-11 03:50

    The story of Woodrow Wilson and his presidency - the second term - is among the most dramatic of all stories from the U.S. presidency. Edith Galt Wilson is among the most notable of all First Ladies. Gene Smith's work remains a model for popular historians and biographers. Published in 1964, "When the Cheering Stopped," remains thoroughly engrossing. (Mrs. Wilson actually functioned as President of the United States? Well, yes. In a way. Smith lays out this story better than anyone else ever has done.)

  • Mcgyver5
    2018-12-17 10:51

    I picked this up at a library book sale a few years ago and read it now because the author of a new book about Wilson is coming to speak here next week (Power without Victory: Woodrow Wilson and the American Internationalist Experiment).The entire book is summarized sufficiently in the preface and one would only read the whole thing to find the intricate details of how Wilson courted his second wife, how Wilson's son-in-law got pulled into the Teapot Dome Scandal and who was excluded from his funeral. Also, there are little gems like this:The three men and the woman went into the Mayflower's sitting room and ordered cool drinks. Out to serve them came a tiny Negro White House servant, "Little" Jackson (sometimes "Major" Jackson), wearing a gigantic mushroom-shaped chef's hat almost as big as he. It sheltered him like a toadstool, the First Lady thought. They all burst into laughter - which pleased Tumulty, who had gone into some trouble to get the hat made.What the holy hell? I still don't know why this was in the book. Civil Rights and Jim Crow were never mentioned. This is the story of Wilson's fight for the League of Nations and his mental breakdown and partial paralysis. Apparently, the real story had never been told in such detail before and it was a wild roller coaster ride. No president for months but everyone had to pretend he was fine. The Secretary of State (Lansing) held informal meetings with the other cabinet members during this time to try to get some stuff figured out, but Lansing was forced to resign over it as it was perceived by the recovering president as usurping his power. The president and his wife became extremely insular and collected grudges that forced his most loyal supporters into a state of exile. The book spends more pages on Wilson's funeral than on the details of the League of Nations fight and more pages on the cheering crowds in Europe in 1918 than on the treaty that he wanted the senate to endorse.

  • Writemoves
    2018-12-10 06:59

    What happens when a President becomes disabled and is unable to fulfill the responsibilities of his position? That was the dilemma in 1919 when Pres. Woodrow Wilson suffered a variety of health maladies including strokes and found himself bedridden and unable to perform his job. His wife and his doctor essentially carried out and managed Presidential duties. Ordinarily the Vice President steps in and carries out the presidential duties – – however Wilson's vice president had no interest in being president. A grumbling Congress and Cabinet offered little resistance.What struck this reader was how implausible this scenario would have been today. Wilson would never have been able to stay in the White House given his health situation. Mrs. Wilson has been credited with actually being the first woman President as she made a number of policy and personnel decisions. And like Nancy Reagan, she strictly managed the President's schedule and travels.Woodrow Wilson was obsessed with the creation of the League of Nations. Obsessed to the point where he sacrificed his own health and life. He even considered running for a third term despite his failing health. Interesting history – – very well researched.

  • Jennifer Morefield
    2018-12-16 09:06

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I knew nothing of Woodrow Wilson. I didn't realize that he was widowed and remarried as he held office. He was grief stricken by the death of his childhood sweetheart. He rebounded and both he and his new wife chose love over anything else. Also, while in office, he suffered from debilitating illness the compromised his ability to lead at times. Despite all of this, he was a good president and a great man. I learned a lot about WWI and the League of Nations. Interestingly enough, Pres. Wilson outlasted Harding who was the next president. Harding died while in office amid a lot of controversy. For those who love history, this is a great story.

  • James
    2018-11-18 06:57

    This is the riveting story of what happened when President Woodrow Wilson, at the height of his success, fell ill and had his plans for U.S. participation in the League of Nations thwarted by the U. S. Senate. Very few Americans knew what was happening in the final two years of his Presidency, but Gene Smith's investigations provide the story of what lay behind the bland pronouncements of Presidential surrogates. The resulting biography of the last days of the Wilson Presidency is exciting reading almost ninety years later.

  • Roger
    2018-12-08 05:08

    Very informative book about the part of Wilson's Presidency and aftermath that is not explored elsewhere. A truely sad part of his legacy that he did not let go when he could not function as the President. Would not happen in today's all media presidency. I liked the information on the years after he was President and before his death. Many people still revered him despite the country's rejection of his League of Nation policy in the 1920 election. You hate to wonder if he got ill with today's medical technology, could the world have been a better place and no WWII?

  • Robert
    2018-12-17 07:59

    Ultimately very sad - but within the great love of Edith and Woodrow Wilson. Smith does argue that. Re Wilson was not so much acting as president as ruthlessly protecting her husband from disturbance during his illness. While she did transact some business, Smith notes the mound of business left undone - bills that became law without Wilson's signature. Appointments left I filled, dignitaries not met.

  • Sherrie
    2018-12-16 05:13

    Biography of Woodrow Wilson. Interesting insight into the politics of the day. A bit heavy on the political maneuvering details, but it did provide a view of the inner workings of the White House at the time. The workings of government basically came to a halt during his illness, which would never be possible in today's times.

  • Tony
    2018-12-04 04:14

    WHEN THE CHEERING STOPPED. (1964). Gene Smith. *****. Thomas Woodrow Wilson: 27th President of the United States, teacher, President of Princton University, New Jersey state Governor, and historian. This book recounts the story of his last days in a sympathetic and personal way. “His Administration which started in 1913, sponsored a series of reforms and innovations – the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Trade Commission, a powerful antitrust act, lower tariffs, the invome tax, direct election of United States senators and votes for women – that he collectively called The New Freedom. In 1917, after winning a second term on the slogan ‘He Kept Us Out of War,’ he sent the country into ‘The War to End Wars’ – just in time to swing the balance of battle to the side of the staggering Western Allies. Afterward, at the Peace Conference, his was the strong voice for the Covenant of the League of Nations, which, he hoped, would redeem the pledge of a world without wars. This history passes over most of the poitical achievements and focuses on Wilson’s obsession with the League of Nations, his subsequent illness towards the end of his second term, and his final passing in February, 1924. A big part of this story was played by his second wife, Edith Bolling Wilson. He was faced with an adverserial Congress that was Republican controlled, and never managed to have the League approved, but that goal remained with him throughout the rest of his life. This is probably one of the best books about those times that you will ever come across. It places the reader by the side of Wilson and Edith during those dark days to the point that you almost feel like family. Highly recommended.

  • Keith
    2018-12-18 10:51

    Gene Smith’s minutely detailed biographic account of Woodrow Wilson’s last years is far more than just a portrayal of the machinations of Washington politics. It highlights Wilson’s relentless determination to meet his presidential commitment to include America as a member of the League of Nations following “The Great War” and takes on elements of Greek tragedy as he puts his health, his political legacy and ultimately his life at stake. His strong and ethical dedication and what he considered his moral obligation to the future of “world peace” is inspirational in this age of political cynicism but it’s also revelatory in outcome due to both his and his political opponent’s utter refusal to compromise. The conflict between Wilson and his hated foe John Cabot Lodge became more than political partisanship, it became a relentless personal rivalry. After Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke and the post Wilson presidential era became dominated by Republican power politics, he not only lost as an advocate for the League of Nations but was humiliated by his rival. The out come of this partisan political hostility continues to this day and this well researched book helps give us a fresh perspective.

  • Robert Jones
    2018-12-09 07:53

    I like books like this. Ironically, I always learn more about presidents that focus on a small detail in there lives, over ones that try to cover everything in too much detail. When the Cheering Stopped certainly did this, focusing on the debilitating thrombosis at the end of Wilson's presidency... But I think I could have used just a little more information this time. Only a single page is dedicated to World War 1, for example. I still enjoyed the read, and ended up far more knowledgeable on who Woodrow Wilson was as a person, but a little extra context could have catapulted this book from "great" to "a must read."

  • Ed Smiley
    2018-12-17 10:08

    This is touching and astonishing story of the declining fall from the top of the world to invalidism of the President of the United States and of a loving wife's audacious decision to protect her husband--and incidentally run the country, slightly marred by a slight reaching for sentimental effect. The author does have a marvelous photographic eye for telling detail, one could actually do the art direction sourced almost entirely by the precise descriptions of locations, clothes and events. This is on a Listopia list as one of the books most cried over, and I have to admit I started tearing up in one part!

  • Jonathan Haffen
    2018-11-22 03:57

    Very good description of the later years of the Wilson administration. Gives a good overview of the personal struggles Wilson had with getting the US to join in on league of nations. Also gives a glimpse into the governmental and administrative chaos ensuing from his illness. Overall pretty legit book.

  • Melissa Hedges- Rankin
    2018-12-01 09:56

    Not usually my type of genre, but have to say I enjoyed it. Interesting to see some 'crisis moments' politically and personally for a president I virtually had little knowledge of. Would have liked to have had a little more background information on the first wife. In the past I have experienced historical biographies to be dry, but I found this to book be both engaging and informative.

  • LindaJ^
    2018-11-22 10:59

    Another of the Time Life books that showed up on my door about every month for a few years! It is one I remember enjoying and want to read again, as I now have read a lot more about the treaty that ended WWI and its implications for WWII.

  • Stacey Becker
    2018-12-08 05:05

    It was a bit slow and dry and boring. But, it was full of facts necessary to complete the goal. It did invoke some emotion as he aged and became ill and unable to do as he used to; anyone that has seen a parent or grandparent go through such a decline would probably be similarly affected.

  • Karen
    2018-12-09 07:06

    Not too engaging. Sad portrait however.

  • Jessica
    2018-12-16 09:46

    Also by my father. Written in a differnt time and thus I found it interesting and very accessible, but it left me wanting to know more about the Depression and Hoover.

  • Amy
    2018-11-23 09:58

    My first read on Former President Wilson. Nice overview and very descriptive. Provides good clear explnation on Wilson's foreign policy. Overall a very informative book. One of my favorites.

  • Anna Stiglbauer
    2018-12-08 10:57

    Insightful and easy to read