Booklist | ‘Wilson,’ by A. Scott Berg

An idealist whose vision of a “League of Nations” failed in the Senate–Woodrow Wilson proved to be a canny politician in a fascinating time.

Despite these tendencies, he managed much of the war effort brilliantly, delivering a surprisingly effective army of more than two million men to France by the end of 1918. The United States stumbled onto the world stage a full-blown colossus, turning overnight from the world’s largest debtor nation to practically its sole creditor. Arriving in Europe to negotiate the peace, Wilson was greeted with an ecstasy no American president had ever matched, hailed as the savior of mankind.

via ‘Wilson,’ by A. Scott Berg –

In this NPR article the author reveals his access to new Wilson papers–and explores the changing role of the U.S. president, the monumental decision to enter WWI, as well as his vision for global governance:

“The vision was, and still is, a mighty one, I think, which is that there ought to be an almost Arthurian Round Table. There should be a kind of international parliament at which every country could sit. And, in fact, if there’s some problem breaking out somewhere in the world, they could discuss it pre-emptively, and everyone would agree not to go to war until it has been discussed. And if the discussions did not work, there would be a notion of collective security. That is to say, they would all contribute to a kind of army that would, in essence, police the world when necessary. And this was a real idealistic vision, no question about it.”

Update:  After a fireside chat on the book Maureen Dowd writes about his mastery of Congressional relations, dating habits, racism and other foibles of his times.


One thought on “Booklist | ‘Wilson,’ by A. Scott Berg”

  1. Wilson seemed to me to be on the right track. There were a few problems with the way he went about it though. One was that the he pretty much created the League of Nations but then he didn’t think that he would have any problems with the Senate approving it. This was a big mistake on his part. He definitely should have taken some Senators with him or at least included them in the creation of the League of Nations. I think that because the US ended up not being a part of the League of Nations this caused it to not have any power behind it. The big powers were all European which made it hard for them to try and do anything against their fellow European Nations at the beginning of WWII. From his quote in the article Wilson makes it sound so easy but I think in real life it becomes more difficult than that. The UN has been created with more teeth in it but I think we still have a ways to go.

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