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November 16, 2013

When Change Was Not Just a Slogan

The New York Times reviews The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

"If you find the grubby spectacle of today's Washington cause for shame and despair -- and, really, how could you not? -- then I suggest you turn off the TV and board Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest time machine. Let her transport you back to the turn of the 20th century, to a time when this country had politicians of stature and conscience, when the public believed that government could right great wrongs, when, before truncated attention spans, a 50,000-word exposé of corruption could sell out magazines and galvanize a reluctant Congress. The villains seemed bigger, too, or at least more brazen -- industrial barons and political bosses who monopolized entire industries, strangled entire cities. And 'change' was not just a slogan."

Writes Goodwin: "There are but a handful of times in the history of our country when there occurs a transformation so remarkable that a molt seems to take place, and an altered country begins to emerge."

"The years covered in this book are such a time. It makes a pretty grand story."


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