Coming Soon

Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times 
by Kenneth Whyte (New York, Knopf, October 10, 2017) Pre-Order

From the Cover Flap:

The definitive biography of one of the most remarkable and least understood Americans of the 20th-century, Herbert Hoover—a wholly original account that will forever change the way Americans understand the man, his presidency, his battle against the Great Depression, and their own history.

A poor orphan who built a fortune. A great humanitarian. A president elected in a landslide, and then defeated just as resoundingly four years later. Arguably the father of both New Deal liberalism and modern conservatism, Herbert Hoover lived one of the most extraordinary American lives of the twentieth century. Yet however remarkable his accomplishments, they are often eclipsed by the perception that Hoover was inept and heartless in the face of the Great Depression.

Now, Kenneth Whyte vividly re-creates Hoover’s rich and dramatic life in all its complex glory. He follows Hoover from his Iowa boyhood to his cutthroat business career, his benevolence that saved millions of lives during World War I and rescued hundreds of thousands more in the 1927 Mississippi floods, his misconstrued presidency, his defeat at the hands of a pitiless Franklin Roosevelt, his devastating years in the political wilderness, his return to grace as Truman’s emissary to help European refugees after World War II, and his final vindication in the days of Kennedy’s “new frontier.” Whyte brings to light Hoover’s perplexities and contradictions—his modesty and ambition, ruthlessness and extreme generosity—as well as his profound political legacy.

Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times is the epic, poignant story of the deprived boy who through force of will made himself the most accomplished figure in the land, and who experienced a range of achievements and failures unmatched by any American of his era, or perhaps any era. Here, for the first time, is the definitive biography that fully captures the colossal scale of Hoover’s momentous life and volatile times.


Kenneth Whyte is the author of The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst, a Washington Post and Toronto Globe and Mail Book of the Year and a nominee for four major book awards. He is chairman of the Donner Canada Foundation and a former publisher and telecommunications executive. He was formerly editor in chief of Maclean’s magazine, editor of the monthly Saturday Night magazine, and founding editor of the National Post. He lives in Toronto.

Advance Praise for Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times, by Kenneth Whyte (2017)

"Hoover was president for four unhappy years but was an extraordinary figure for more than 70. In this fat, intensely researched, mostly admiring biography, National Post founding editor Whyte (The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst, 2009) makes a convincing case for his rehabilitation and succeeds in providing “a faithful portrait of the man in his times” -- Starred review in Kirkus Reviews

"Whyte delivers a clear-eyed, sympathetic portrayal of the American president best remembered for his inability to pull the U.S. out of the Great Depression....Whyte doesn’t shy away from these seedier aspects of Hoover’s life, but nor is he judgmental. The story moves at a brisk pace ... with adept explanations of the Depression’s complexities and a refreshing sense of objectivity regarding Hoover’s approach to combatting it, Whyte portrays a figure to be neither pitied nor reviled, but better understood" --  Publisher's Weekly

Hoover by Kenneth Whyte included in "Books we can't wait to read in the rest of 2017" -- Chicago Reader, June 28, 2017

Hoover by Kenneth Whyte included in Barbara's Picks of Presidential biographies in Library Journal, April 17, 2017