Kirkus Features David Pietrusza's '1920: The Year of the Six Presidents' in 'Best Books of 2007'

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Kirkus Reviews features David Pietrusza's "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" in "Best Books of 2007" issue -- epic re-telling of landmark 1920 presidential election.

Kirkus Reviews has featured award-winning author David Pietrusza's 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents in its "Best Books of 2007" issue.

"Pietrusza," notes Kirkus, "ably navigates the paths of six presidents -- and the cast of thousands around them -- who combined to comprise a significant part of the backdrop of the 1920 political conventions and election."

1920 narrates the riveting story of the presidential election of 1920, among history's most dramatic. Uniquely, six once-and-future presidents -- Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Theodore Roosevelt -- jockeyed for the White House. With American voters choosing between the Wilsonian legacy and his League of Nations versus Harding's more isolationist stance, this election would shape modern America's course like no other.

The election saw unprecedented levels of publicity -- the Republican Party outspent the Democrats by 4 to 1 -- and it was the first to generate extensive newsreel coverage and to utilize modern advertising techniques. It was also the first election in which all women could vote and to have its result broadcast on radio. Meanwhile, the 1920 census revealed that America had become an urban nation -- automobiles, mass production, chain stores and easy credit were transforming the economy and America was limbering up for the Roaring Twenties, one of the most spectacular decades in its history. 1920 saw cracks emerge in the once solid Jim Crow system while the Ku Klux Klan incited hatred against Catholics, blacks and Jews. Prohibition took effect; the Palmer Raids arrested more than 6,000 radicals; authorities charged Sacco and Vanzetti with murder; and political terrorism first invaded lower Manhattan when a bomb rocked Wall Street; Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs garnered nearly a million votes -- from his Atlanta jail cell; and both major party campaigns exploded with sex scandals.

Pietrusza's riveting work presents a dazzling panorama of presidential personalities, ambitions, plots and counterplots -- a picture of modern America at the crossroads.

Earlier, in a starred review, Kirkus Reviews praised 1920 as "A rousing chronicle ... Pietrusza ... adds color and dimension with smart discussions of Prohibition, women's suffrage, immigration, civil rights, the League of Nations and labor strife, and he offers animated portraits of William Jennings Bryan, Carrie Chapman Catt, Henry Ford, Marcus Garvey, Sacco and Vanzetti, William Randolph Hearst, H.L. Mencken and many others. A hugely fascinating episode in American history, told with insight and great humor, by an author in command of his subject."

Publishers Weekly calls 1920 "absorbing ... a broad, satisfying political and social history, in the style of Doris Kearns Goodwin."

Bloomberg Radio calls 1920 as "a terrific and fun read."

Booklist terms 1920 "an ably popular treatment that fans of campaign histories will enjoy."

The Seattle Times calls 1920 "a colorful, nonacademic account ... Most of all, there are the characters. Pietrusza draws them sharply: the imperious Wilson, the obliging Harding, the dour and honest Coolidge and the ambitious and dissembling Franklin Roosevelt. Fans of political history will enjoy this book."

The Denver Post notes that 1920 is "more than just a story of six men who either already had been president or would be, this is the story of America as it moved into the modern age."

Bloomberg Radio calls 1920 as "a terrific and fun read."

Ann Compton of ABC News calls 1920 "a very vivid portrait of each of these presidents."

President George W. Bush praises 1920 as "a fine job in capturing the personalities of an interesting cast of political characters and the era in which they lived."

Karl Rove praised 1920 as "A great read -- chock full of great insights and brilliant portraits. Thanks for a wonderful volume ... a great read."

David O. Stewart, author of the best-selling The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution hails 1920 as "a rich and compelling narrative of American politics."

1920: The Year of the Six Presidents, published originally by Carroll & Graf and now by Basic Books, is an Alternate Selection of the History Book Club.

Pietrusza's biography of gambler Arnold Rothstein, Rothstein: The Life, Times and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series, was nominated for a prestigious Edgar Award (Best Fact Crime Book Category) by the Mystery Writers of America.

Pietrusza's earlier work, Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (Diamond Communications), won the 1998 CASEY Award as best baseball book of the year.

Author David Pietrusza has appeared on such national outlets as NPR, The History Channel, C-SPAN BookTV, Bloomberg Radio, The Fox News Channel, ESPN Classic, ABC, ESPN-2, ESPN-Radio, the Comcast Network, and The Tim McCarver Show.

Included in Kirkus's best non-fiction books of 2007 are works by such authors as David Halberstam, Walter Isaacson, Joseph. J. Ellis, J. M. Coetzee, William Vollmann, Rick Atkinsn, and Susan Faludi.

To learn more about 1920 visit

To learn more about Kirkus Reviews' "Best Books of 2007" visit


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