A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

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Anchor Books, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 374 pages
44 Reviews
Politician, evangelist, and reformer William Jennings Bryan was the most popular public speaker of his time. In this acclaimed biography–the first major reconsideration of Bryan’s life in forty years–award-winning historian Michael Kazin illuminates his astonishing career and the richly diverse and volatile landscape of religion and politics in which he rose to fame. Kazin vividly re-creates Bryan’s tremendous appeal, showing how he won a passionate following among both rural and urban Americans, who saw in him not only the practical vision of a reform politician but also the righteousness of a pastor. Bryan did more than anyone to transform the Democratic Party from a bulwark of laissez-faire to the citadel of liberalism we identify with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1896, 1900, and 1908, Bryan was nominated for president, and though he fell short each time, his legacy–a subject of great debate after his death–remains monumental. This nuanced and brilliantly crafted portrait restores Bryan to an esteemed place in American history.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

An excellent biography of Bryan, this book pulls no punches and really gets at the paradoxical nature of the man. Bryan doesn't fit comfortably into our understanding of American political figures ... Read full review

Review: A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

User Review  - Goodreads

A well-written biography that neither lionizes nor destroys its subject. Each issue of controversy was dealt with in an even-handed manner, which helped me immensely, as Bryan has always been somewhat ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Michael Kazin is professor of history at Georgetown University. He is the author of three previous books about American history, America Divided, The Populist Persuasion, and Barons of Labor. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, and The American Prospect, among other publications. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and twice from the Fulbright Scholar Program, he lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


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