Down in Ejido Wonderful for the first time in 15 years with absolutely no motivation to go to Todos Santos. Genius granddaughter is a public radio nabob, and she gave me a three foot stack of books that people tried to pimp to her, but she's just too busy. So Mr. Knowitall has taken upon himself to be your friendly book reviewer. My first book is HOOVER: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte.
First, this is a very well written biography. Whyte knows what he was doing, and he had years of combing through the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library as the only person there with a staff of librarians jumping to his every call. Hoover comes off as less than charismatic. He was no Ringo! But you begin to think that if he were alive today, he'd be giving Jeff Bezos (and Vladimir Putin) a run for their money. Although he had a personality pretty much like a postage stamp -- he was an absolute organizational genius! What you are reading is a historic biography of what it takes to be a billionaire
Most people don't know that he almost single-handedly organized the Belgium Relief effort in World War One, channeling millions of tons of food to war-torn Europe. And as Secretary of Commerce under Calvin Coolidge, he set in motion government programs that were later expanded upon to become a part of FDR's New Deal, like the flood relief efforts for victims of the Mississippi River in 1928.
Hoover had been planning to run for President since 1920, and he didn't give up trying to run for re-election until 1944, but I'm pretty sure you know how the other side of the story was reported with FDR.
Hoover's bad fortune of course, was presiding over the worst economic downturn in history. And it's great to note that modern economists have pretty well dissected that subject. In reading this book, I periodically winced as Hoover (and the Federal Reserve Board) made one misstep after another. It would be an interesting econometric game to do a simulation of Hoover 2.0 as he made correct decision after correct decision between 1929 and 1933 instead of what he actually did.
It's also interesting to see Hoover's perspectives on FDR. Needless to say, that was all the ammunition that modern conservatives needed in their battles against the New Deal that continue to this day. Let's try not to think what's happening in the Trump White House right now.
All in all, HOOVER is a nice little walk in the park.