The Bully Pulpit - Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Bully Pulpit

By Doris Kearns Goodwin

  • Release Date: 2013-11-05
  • Genre: United States
Score: 3.5
From 319 Ratings


One of the Best Books of the Year as chosen by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, Time, USA TODAY, Christian Science Monitor, and more. “A tale so gripping that one questions the need for fiction when real life is so plump with drama and intrigue” (Associated Press).

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit is a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air.

The story is told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft—a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that divides their wives, their children, and their closest friends, while crippling the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country’s history.

The Bully Pulpit is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform that helps Roosevelt push the government to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters of our natural resources. The muckrakers are portrayed through the greatest group of journalists ever assembled at one magazine—Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White—teamed under the mercurial genius of publisher S.S. McClure.

Goodwin’s narrative is founded upon a wealth of primary materials. The correspondence of more than four hundred letters between Roosevelt and Taft begins in their early thirties and ends only months before Roosevelt’s death. Edith Roosevelt and Nellie Taft kept diaries. The muckrakers wrote hundreds of letters to one another, kept journals, and wrote their memoirs. The letters of Captain Archie Butt, who served as a personal aide to both Roosevelt and Taft, provide an intimate view of both men.

The Bully Pulpit, like Goodwin’s brilliant chronicles of the Civil War and World War II, exquisitely demonstrates her distinctive ability to combine scholarly rigor with accessibility. It is a major work of history—an examination of leadership in a rare moment of activism and reform that brought the country closer to its founding ideals.


  • Loved it!

    By Jbrahms
    Kearns Goodwin does it again. Another winning historical saga on fascinating American figures. Especially enjoyed the contrast in TR's and Taft's personalities, as well as the sweep and detail of the period. There are so many similarities with key issues of our day, yet the author wisely avoids making the analogy or talking about the present. After this great read I hope to delve more into TR.
  • Goodwin at her insightful best

    By Sig000
    I love Goodwin’s books. Besides being an excellent curator of historical information, she helps the reader achieve an emotional understanding with her characters. I never knew Teddy Roosevel quite the way I know him now.
  • The Bully Pulpit

    By Polkinghorn
    Another long, disappointing book from Goodwin. Like Team of Rivels, this book combines subjects enough for three books - TR, Taft and the Muckraker Press - because Goodwin possesses only the ability to describe but not the power to explain. She needs length because she cannot offer depth. It is written as though she just lined up all her 3x5 research notecards and dictated her way to the end.
  • Bully pulpit

    By Doris Boshaw
    Great!! 3star
  • Why rate the book poorly for an iBooks issue?

    By MaxxManic
    Why do people feel the need to rate the book poorly because they had issues downloading it. Last time I checked DGoodwin is an author not an Apple technician. Rate the book and not the store, complain to Apple about that. The book was excellent.
  • Excellent Book!

    By mikeymike89
    like everyone else I had an issue with the download. However, I simply contacted apple support and they rectified the issue and I now have the full download! This book is amazing!