In This Review

Woodrow Wilson: A Penguin Lives Biography
Woodrow Wilson: A Penguin Lives Biography
By Louis Auchincloss
Viking Penguin, 2000, 128 pp

This brief entry in the Penguin Lives series reminds the reader of Wilson's astonishingly rapid ascent to national prominence and power by compressing the story. Auchincloss gracefully draws out a few key themes, such as Wilson's crucial relationship with his adviser Colonel Edward House and the baleful influence of the president's second wife, Edith Galt. His portrait of Wilson's dual personality does not wear as well. Indeed, the author is more convincing in his elegant cameo of Wilson's great foe, Henry Cabot Lodge. Auchincloss grants that Wilson's high ideals still win praise. But he adds that "it has always seemed to me that it is a simple matter for a man to dream of peace and leagues and international understandings. The whole trick in such matters is not to dream them but to implement those dreams."