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1912 Cover


Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs--The Election That Changed the Country

By James Chace

Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9780743273558, 323pp.

Publication Date: August 1, 2005

Beginning with former president Theodore Roosevelt's return in 1910 from his African safari, Chace brilliantly unfolds a dazzling political circus that featured four extraordinary candidates.

When Roosevelt failed to defeat his chosen successor, William Howard Taft, for the Republican nomination, he ran as a radical reformer on the Bull Moose ticket. Meanwhile, Woodrow Wilson, the ex-president of Princeton, astonished everyone by seizing the Democratic nomination from the bosses who had made him New Jersey's governor. Most revealing of the reformist spirit sweeping the land was the charismatic socialist Eugene Debs, who polled an unprecedented one million votes.

Wilson's "accidental" election had lasting impact on America and the world. The broken friendship between Taft and TR inflicted wounds on the Republican Party that have never healed, and the party passed into the hands of a conservative ascendancy that reached its fullness under Reagan and George W. Bush. Wilson's victory imbued the Democratic Party with a progressive idealism later incarnated in FDR, Truman, and LBJ.

1912 changed America.

Praise For 1912

"Illuminating and absorbing....An engrossing narrative that is essential reading."

-- Ronald Steel, The New York Review of Books

One of the "Best Books of 2004."

-- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A brisk, consistently entertaining narrative that is alive both to politics and personality."

-- Michael Kazin, Washington Post Book World