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The course of history as it has been run by eggheads (men who believe in intelligence as an instrument for social change and in reason as a test for the evaluation of political issues) in the White House points up Mr. Coon's theme, that in time of crises we turn to the egghead for leadership. Concerned mainly with the Wilson and Roosevelt tenures, he looks back to the Jeffersonian leadership, pays respect but does not linger with the ""secular saint"" Lincoln, and comments on many other figures in government. Of the four democratic revolutions, only that under Jackson was not spearheaded by an intellectual -- Jefferson the philosopher, Wilson the moralist, Roosevelt the pragmatist changed our course. This study takes into its scope the personalities of the great leaders, their approach to problems, their principles, their jockeying to achieve long-term aims in the stubborn face of immediate trials. Jefferson's decision to make the Louisiana Purchase that ensured our growth despite his belief in strict interpretation of the Constitution, Wilson's striving against the forces of reaction and privilege and the terrible Congress with the venomous Lodge for eternal peace, Roosevelt's great experiment in the New Deal and efforts for peace are here. Coon suggests the parallels as Roosevelt sought to bypass Wilson's errors -- their reasons for going to war, their great bids for the League of Nations and the United Nations. He feels that Yalta was Roosevelt's Versailles, not his Waterloo, that he went to get the UN and that failure lay in Russia's refusal to live up to agreements rather than in the agreements themselves. The mantle has gone to Adlai Stevenson and the future is not yet unfolded. Fascinating in its combination of personal and political elements, and a new approach.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1955
Publisher: Random House