Lots of non-fiction. So true!
Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by John Milton Cooper
Though he stands for the most part in Woodrow Wilson’s corner, there’s one biographer best set to offer a well considered and judicious assessment of one of the United State’s most controversial leaders. John Milton Cooper chronicles in Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, the life and career of The 28th president, the progressive Democrat who has stirred more contention among scholars than perhaps any president, having both established regulatory bodies and legislation that prefigured FDR’s New Deal and at the same time, as Cooper casts his critical eye, retaining a streak of Southern racism and a grim record on race and civil liberties. A foremost Wilson scholar, Cooper is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, and is the author of Breaking the Heart of the World: Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations and The Warrior and the Priest: Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. He was recently a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
Cooper had a lot of background material to sort through for his final assessments in WW, since Wilson kept copious notes as a popular professor, and as Princeton's reform-minded president, and more. Delving into Wilson's letters as well as the archival materials of Wilson colleagues, Cooper comes to the conclusion that the academic background of Wilson (who, in a revisionist tweak, Cooper conveys as a warm personality rather than the ivory-tower cold fish of popular imagination), prepared him perfectly for the political battles he later faced as New Jersey's governor and, of course, as president. In fact, Cooper emphasizes, Wilson’s goal – unlike the inspirational style of his greatest rival Teddy Roosevelt — was to educate the American people, appealing to public opinion through his writing and oratory.
In foreign policy, which was an on-the-job learning experience, Wilson, after he was narrowly reelected on the slogan, "He kept us out of war," guided the nation through World War I as an active commander in chief, becoming arguably the world's most acclaimed leader by the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. And though Wilson established a new way of thinking about international relations that would carry America into the United Nations era, Wilson’s reluctance to compromise and a debilitating stroke left him paralyzed for nearly half his term in office, leaving him with what Cooper terms as the "worst crisis of presidential disability in American history” when he was unable to persuade Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles or to join the League of Nations.