||Critical Acclaim for
The Year of the
|A Selection of the History Book Club|
Kirkus Reviews "Best Books of 2007"
|"A rousing chronicle of the political year that saw six American presidents, past, present and future, vying simultaneously for high office.
"Poised between the administrations of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and the ensuing decade that would earn itself the qualifier “roaring,”
1920 found Americans craving a pause, a return to the soothing “normalcy” of a bygone era. Who better fit the national mood than the thoroughly
undistinguished Senator Warren G. Harding? After an intense primary season and many convention ballots, the Republican Party finally settled on the
affable Ohioan and his law-and-order running-mate, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge, choices made easier by the sudden death of the
beloved TR, himself eyeing a comeback, and the one man capable of disturbing the party’s predilection for calm. Incumbent President Wilson,
bedridden after a debilitating stroke, shed no tears over the death of his bitter enemy and unaccountably believed the Democratic Party would extend
his discredited presidency by nominating him for an unprecedented third term. Instead, the party chose Ohio Governor James Cox, like Harding a
former small-town newspaper editor, and for vice-president, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a charming fellow from New York, who came with the
added advantage of that hallowed name Roosevelt: Franklin D. Only Herbert Hoover’s seeming desire to be anointed rather than nominated (he
refused to disclose his party affiliation) kept this internationally acclaimed humanitarian from being a bigger factor in the race. Other figures who helped
shape the political battle—Eugene Debs, Hiram Johnson, Leonard Wood, William McAdoo, A. Mitchell Palmer, Nicholas Murray Butler, Alfred E.
Smith—are highlighted as well. Pietrusza (Rothstein: The Life Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series, 2003)
adds color and dimension with smart discussions of Prohibition, women’s suffrage, immigration, civil rights, the League of Nations and labor strife, and
he offers animated portraits of William Jennings Bryan, Carrie Chapman Catt, Henry Ford, Marcus Garvey, Sacco and Vanzetti, William Randolph
Hearst, H.L. Mencken and many others.
"A hugely fascinating episode in American history, told with insight and great humor, by an author in command of his subject."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"absorbing . . . a broad, satisfying political and social history, in the style of Doris Kearns Goodwin."
"broad, fluid brush strokes . . . a brisk narrative"
—The Wall Street Journal
"David Pietrusza has a gift for making the past both real and dramatically gripping, and in 1920 he has an extraordinary cast of characters with which to
work his magic. Imagine a year when Herbert Hoover was a global hero, and FDR a callow bit player; when a repudiated and physically broken
president fantasized about vindication at the polls; and millions of women casting their first votes helped elect Hollywood's idea of a president, one
Warren Gamaliel Harding. Add those temperamental opposites Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge to the mix, and you have one helluva
historical dinner party. An unforgettable group portrait of America on the brink of modernity"
—Richard Norton Smith
—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
"1920: The Year of the Six Presidents is everything a great narrative history should be: deeply researched, vividly written, brimming with detail and
sharp, revealing quotations. David Pietrusza is a jolly chronicler of a bitter presidential campaign waged at a fraught historical moment, and he brings
his large and colorful cast of characters to life on the page. Readers get a ringside seat to a great political show"
—Elaine Weiss, Author of The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote
"a colorful, nonacademic account . . . Most of all, there are the characters. Pietrusza draws them sharply: the imperious Wilson, the obliging Harding,
the dour and honest Coolidge and the ambitious and dissembling Franklin Roosevelt. Fans of political history will enjoy this book."
"Fascinating and compelling . . . Highly recommended."
"It will blow your mind . . . a fantastic book."
"I just finished 1920 and liked it a lot . . . a fine job in capturing the personalities of an interesting cast of political characters and the era in which they
—President George W. Bush
"The President passed on your book after he finished it . . . I dipped into 1920 and found myself devouring it in one weekend. A great read—chock full
of great insights and brilliant portraits. Thanks for a wonderful volume . . a great read."
"An ably popular treatment that fans of campaign histories will enjoy."
"full of fascinating and colorful anecdotes about an election at the turning point of American history."
—The American Spectator
—Paul Mirengoff, Power Line Blog
"If you buy ANY political book this Xmas get 1920 by David Pietrusza - The Year of 6 Presidents- Best political book I read in 2012"
"A terrific and fun read."
"More than just a story of six men who either already had been president or would be, this is the story of America as it moved into the modern age."
"a very vivid portrait of each of these presidents."
—Ann Compton, ABC News
"an essential read for anyone interested not only in presidential history, but the history of election politics."
—Katherine Webb, Entertainment CheatSheet
"a superb recounting of a largely forgotten political season"
—Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL)
"Pietrusza is a very gifted writer with a marvelous eye for anecdote. Even a reader familiar with American electoral history will learn things from this
lively history, and a reader unfamiliar with the politics of the period will enjoy an engaging introduction to an unusually complicated political cycle."
—David Frum, National Review Online
—William Schulz, Former Washington Bureau Chief & Executive Editor, The Reader's Digest
"Through a lens trained on a long-ago election, David Pietrusza's 1920: The Year of Six Presidents, delivers a rich and compelling narrative of
American politics. Exploring a year when giant figures of American history were waxing and waning, he deftly explains how we ended up with a
presidential showdown between two largely unknown—yet surprisingly randy—editors of small-town Ohio newspapers, which Warren Harding won
principally by being 'nice.'"
—David O. Stewart, author of The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution
"Sweeping and original."
—The History Book Club
"In 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents, writer David Pietrusza shows the right way to pull together disparate characters into a coherent narrative. . . .
this book portrays an America that has stopped looking backward and has begun to craft a new country and a new world role."
—The Washington Times
"An absolutely wonderful book . . . I loved [it], absolutely marvelous, absolutely wonderful research . . . just a great read, marvelously done, brilliantly
constructed and really integrates the entire story of one year—1920. . . . if I were teaching a history class of early twentieth century America this is the
book I would use. . . . It reads like a novel but it's fact . . . a great book."
—John Rothmann, KGO (San Francisco)
"I just love 1920: The Year of Six Presidents by David Pietrusza. It's not historical fiction, but plain old history that zips along like good fiction. I just wish
I'd read it before I wrote my book."
—Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online
" . . . a campaign like no other before or since. David Pietrusza, a seasoned crime-and-mystery writer, builds the suspense of the 1920 campaign so
effectively that the reader easily suspends, for the moment, knowledge of the outcome, as if it were still about to happen. . . [Pietrusza] organizes the
story in a way that produces high drama."
—The Weekly Standard
—Sean Trende, Senior Elections Analyst, Real Clear Politics
"I loved 1920."
—John Gizzi, Political Editor, Human Events
"I agree with Jonah Goldberg—I wish I had read it before I wrote my book."
—Burton W. Folsom Jr., Author of "New Deal or Raw: Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America
"Informative and captivating, 1920 offers a beguiling look into one of the most tumultuous and important—yet curiously overlooked—presidential
elections of the twentieth century. David Pietrusza writes vividly and engagingly enough to make it all sound like a particularly engrossing political novel,
except this one really happened."
—Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)
and The Truth About Muhammad
"complex and satisfying"
"With a storyteller's eye for characters and drama, Pietrusza re-creates America at a post-World War I turning point, when the country wanted steady
leadership but got scandal instead."
—Washington CEO Magazine
"outstanding . . . fascinating"
—Al Kresta, Ave Maria Radio
"a fine and lively recommendation both for high school and college collections strong in American history and politics in particular, or even public
"David Pietrusza's new book—1920 The Year of Six Presidents—is awesome! David writes history with such clarity and insights, you don't want to put
the book down. You'll feel the same way."
—Pat Williams, Author and Vice President, Orlando Magic
"Pietrusza's volume brings the vivid history of the 1920 election to life. Both entertaining and insightful, it provides exceptionally well crafted "mini"
biographies of the six presidents and how their careers intersected that year. The narrative is rich and compelling as it peeks into the backrooms and
describes the national mood. Pietrusza's handling of the personalities, issues, trends and techniques that went on to define American politics in the first
half of the 20th century is to be recommended to anyone with an interest in presidential biography or U.S. political history."
—Dr. Ron Faucheux
Author; Former Editor-in-Chief, Campaigns and Elections Magazine and Campaign Insider newsletter; Former Louisiana legislator and Secretary of
"With journalistic flair, David Pietrusza . . . brings to life the 1920 election."
—Author Ross A. Kennedy
"I couldn't put it down."
--Frank Morano (970TheAnswer, NYC)
"An incredible read . . . Five stars from this corner on a remarkable piece of work."
—Reagan Smith, WFLA (Tampa)
"David Pietrusza's remarkable new book 1920: The Year of Six Presidents is exactly the way history should be written. It is riveting, involving, filled with
verifiable fact and compelling anecdote. It makes the era come alive [and] challenges presumptions about well-known figures . . ."
—Glenn Raucher, West Side Y's Writer's Voice
"astonishingly detailed . . . an essential read for anyone interested not only in presidential history, but the history of election politics."
"fast paced, highly readable"
—Caffeinated Politics Blog
"grabs you from the first sentence"
—Coy Barefoot, WAMI Radio
"detailed and insightful"
—Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative
"a compelling narrative . . .well-written, well-researched . . . well worth the time of anyone interested in American political history."
"FASCINATING book, one of the best I've read in years. . . . I think I might have a new favorite living author."
—Michael Koolidge, Host "The Michael Koolidge Show"
—Dr. Joe Harder, Macomb County Community College
"a lively chronicle"
"a page-turner of a political story that brings history to life."
"terrific . . . a wild gallop"
—Bill Bodkin, HeadButler.com
"I have read some of the background of Roosevelt's and Taft's relationship, and actually been moved to tears by David Pietrusza's account of it in his
"I was so hooked after I read 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents."
—Malcolm Farnsworth (australianpolitics.com)
"If you are someone who loves American history, you will love Pietrusza’s well-told saga of the 1920 presidential race and the six former or future
Presidents who played important roles in this story. If you are someone who doesn’t like history, but wish you did, this is a book with your name on it,
for it is history with a human face. . . . Set against the backdrop of women’s suffrage, prohibition, the open activity of the Ku Klux Klan and the
emergence of America as a world industrial power, Pietrusza tells a fascinating story that will leave you glad that you took the ride."
"In 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents historian David Pietrusza masterfully weaves the narrative of a campaign set amid the background of a rap
idly changing American electorate—more urbanized and less rural than ever before, increasingly mobile through the rise of the automobile, wary of int
ernational entanglements after the carnage on the battlefields of Europe and adapting to new waves of immigration.
"Republicans had the upper hand amid this political tumult, with the team of Ohio Sen. Warren G. Harding and Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge
romping to victory against and under funded and out-gunned Democratic ticket, the understudy role anchored by future President D. Roosevelt. Herbert
Hoover, a national hero for his post-war relief efforts in Europe also made a late bid for the GOP nod. And hanging over the specter of the contested
Republican nomination was the late President Theodore Roosevelt, who likely would have been the GOP standard-bearer had he not died in early
1919. President Woodrow Wilson himself desperately wanted to a third term, but his physical infirmity and divisions among Democrats ruled out that
"In addition to the six presidents Pietrusza brilliantly brings to life a cast of rising stars, party hacks, backroom dealers and assorted other characters
whose names even most political junkies are likely to scratch their heads at. Republican presidential aspirants like General Leonard Wood and Illinois
Gov. Frank Lowden have been largely lost to history but Pietrusza deftly describes how a few different moves amid the backroom dealings of the
Chicago convention might have brought about a different result than the scandal-plagued Harding Administration.
"Pietrusza's 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents is essential to discover how presidents were really chosen in the pre-television and internet age. This
should be required reading for college political science and history courses."
—David Mark, author of Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning and senior editor at POLITICO
—Matt K. Lewis
"Pietrusza offers a lively chronicle of a country emerging from World War I into a precarious and heady sense of 20th-century possibility."
Four-time winner of the Time Warner Cable National Teachers Award
"a narrative of intrigue and interaction"
"History books walk a fine line and it’s difficult for historians to be informative and entertaining. Pietrusza makes it look easy. 1920: The Year of Six
Presidents is not merely a great read; it’s a great experience. Theodore White’s The Making of the President series might be the standard that books
about Presidential campaigns are measured against, but Pietrusza’s 1920 gives White a run for his money."
—Anthony Bergen, deadpresidents.tumblr.com
"a riveting read that brings back to life the Roaring Twenties"
—Ed Tant, onlineathens. com (Athens Banner-Herald)
"a book that I simply loved . . . fascinating, filled with intimate details . . ."
—France Kessing, KDVS Radio
"amazing . . . For anyone seriously interested in seeing today's Iowa Caucuses/ New Hamp. Primaries/Super Tuesdays, they MUST, as a student of
yesterday's political intrigue, read "1920".
"a wealth of data"
—Perspectives: A Journal of Political Inquiry
—Columbia (OR) Daily News
"Pietrusza does an excellent job of painting colorful and surprising portraits of these six men."
—William L. Wunder, suite101.com
—The LuLace Political Report
"It's a great book, deserving of its popularity. An important election, a suprisingly important year."
—Educator Joseph A. Esposito, former Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education.
"An amazing convergence of politicians, policy wonks, and future politicians. Outstanding read."
"a pertinent read"
"a fun read . . . you're really going to enjoy this book."
—Paul Murphy, Co-host of NewsTalk 790 Today, WAYY
"Crackling fun is not the usual description most people use for historical accounts but David Pietrusza is not most historians. He sure does like the
1920s and presidential campaigns. In this book, he was able to do both."
—Blogger Jowana Bueser
"a compelling narrative that brings to life events whose consequences reverberated through the 20th Century."
"incredibly readable—the kind you can’t put down and wish could just continue. "
—blogger "bedsitter 23"
"David Pietrusza delves into all of the different personalities and platforms that made up the dash for the White House, confirming the old adage that
truth is often stranger than fiction."
—Dani Spencer, electricliterature.com
"A good read"
—Bill Gruver, The Arizona Report
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