JOE TUMULTY  by John M. Bum


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The title both scope and limitations of this competent, but uninspired, biography of Wilson's White House secretary. Joe Tumulty was variously described as a political wheelhouse -- n idealistic dreamer who worshipped his chief -- an able figure in the political scene who served as interpreter, buffer, spokesman. He was hated by some (unfortunately many who opposed him most bitterly were close to Wilson, as for instance Colonel House during a large part of him elusive career, and the second Mrs. Wilson, who consistently blocked Tumulty's relationship with her husband, and at the end was really instrumental in bringing about the final break). He was considered by many as a vital control on Wilson's political ineptitude, a sound and realistic politician who knew how to sense public response as Wilson often failed to do. He became a Wilson man during the early part of Wilson's campaign for Governor of New Jersey. He had a considerable backlog of experience in Jersey politics, was a lawyer-self-made-and had risen by his own efforts from a Jersey City slum as one of the ""Horseshoe's Irish"" to the role of Secretary to the Governor. He helped make Wilson President- and helped keep him there; he never forgot his own people; was not afraid to battle for Irish rights or to be known as a staunch Catholic. He refused to pander to the Hague machine, but played ball with other city machines where necessary. He played a vital role in almost every phase of Wilson's career in the White House -- fought a good fight for the losing cause of the League of Nations -- and helped balance Wilson's idiosyncrasies at many a strategic point in the story of labor, public relations, the exigencies of a country at war. There are striking parallels with our own times, which makes this book more important reading than at perhaps any other period since the Wilson era ended with his death.

Pub Date: July 10th, 1951
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin