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Patricia O'Toole is the author of five books, including The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made, When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House, and The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A former professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and a fellow of the Society of American Historians, she lives in Camden, Maine.
What a wonderful book. With a sure hand and clarity of thought, Patricia O'Toole has given us a Woodrow Wilson in all his complexity. In one way or another, from our role in the world to our views of each other at home, much of our America can be traced to the epic events of the Wilson presidency, and O'Toole, tells that story with grace and insight. --Jon Meacham, author of American Lion and Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power This splendid biography tells a story of triumph and tragedy--the triumph of democratic reform at home in Wilson's first term and of victory in the war to make the world save for democracy in his second, but tragedy in his failure to secure a just peace and American participation in the League of Nations. Of special value are O'Toole's incisive analyses of the crucial and sometimes fraught relationships among Wilson, his wife Edith, his personal physician Cary Grayson, Colonel Edward house, Secretary of State Robert Lansing, and private secretary Joe Tumulty. --James McPherson, author of The War That Forged a Nation Can one man use his moral force to change the world? The question seems outlandish but Woodrow Wilson very nearly did. A vivacious writer who digs deep, Patricia O'Toole has given us a grand, flawed, fascinating Wilson. --Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff and Being Nixon By turns eloquent, aloof, incisive, racist, romantic, and, above all, moralistic, Woodrow Wilson dominated political life a century ago. Patricia O'Toole brings him alive, with a cogent mix of propulsive narrative and penetrating insight. This is a fresh and invigorating take on a monumental if flawed president. --Jonathan Alter, author of The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days A great strength of Patricia O'Toole's new biography is the argument announced by her title. She sets out to investigate Wilson by focusing on his strong moral streak, an attribute that proved to be his greatest asset and his greatest failing. . . . a master class in political analysis. --America Magazine A comprehensive biography of Woodrow Wilson and a fresh perspective on his moral vision and legacy. The book provides an intimate portrait of Wilson's life and identifies his deep sense of moral responsibility as the guiding factor behind his actions and decision-making . . . O'Toole writes with compassion and impartiality . . . this gracefully written account will likely renew debates on Wilson's role in a century of U.S. foreign policy and the role of the United States in international affairs. --Publishers Weekly Excellent . . . O'Toole offers a fair-minded portrait of a vain moralist and political visionary whose certitude could exceed his judgment. --The American Conservative O'Toole is a lucid and elegant writer . . . She gives each of her many characters their due, rendering them vivid and also memorable . . . . On Wilson's tortured entrance into World War I, she is truly superb, assiduously tracing his journey from stubborn neutrality to zealous wartime president. As a study of Wilson's relationship with Europe, and the intrigues of his foreign policy administration, the book is exemplary. --The New York Times Ms. O'Toole does full justice to Wilson's complexities, but it is with the coming of the war that her narrative takes on something close to Shakespearean dimensions . . . scrupulously balanced . . . elegantly crafted. --The Wall Street Journal Enlightening . . . a commentary-infused biography that illuminates an ugly and reckless side of Wilson. Her book stands as a welcome corrective . . . By devoting a biographical study to Wilson's exaggerated sense of moral rectitude, O'Toole has done students of American history a great service. She has exposed, in meticulous detail, the vanity and vacuity of Wilson the moralist. --National Review In graceful prose and deep scholarship, Patricia O'Toole casts new light on the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. . . . The most important value of O'Toole's new book is its sharp-edged treatment of Wilson -- severely critical of his character and policies when appropriate, praising his idealism and persistence when appropriate. --Minneapolis Star Tribune A skillfully crafted account of the president's life and legacy. . . . a compelling page-turner . . . O'Toole's revelations break fresh ground . . . A balanced, welcome new addition to the Wilson shelf. --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Patricia O'Toole's new biography captures the essence of Wilson's approach to politics and the world. --New York Journal of Books The Moralist comes at a ripe moment, now that the harsh revisionism of recent years has cast a dark light on Wilson's legacy. . . . Grim and often gripping, The Moralist goes a long way in explaining the America we're awakening to. --USA Today The Moralist is a brilliant and vital biography of Woodrow Wilson. With surgical precision she analyzes Wilson's intellectual greatness, military cunning, and evangelical fervor aimed at promoting global democracy after World War I. Every chapter crackles with first-rate scholarship. --Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America