Woodrow Wilson 

Woodrow Wilson

I'm reading a very good short bio by Louis Auchincloss, part of the Penguin Lives.

There is a sort of prologue focussing on the famous stroke that incapacitated Wilson as President. "His stroke, however, had not been his first. He had suffered one in Princeton in his academic days and another in Paris during the peace talks, and though in each case his recovery had seemed complete, there is evidence that these strokes took some toll on his temperament."

Again on the strokes, p. 20: one doctor "believes they may have had a permanent aftereffect in intensifying his natural irritability and stubbornness."

On his first marriage: "...there may be a question as to whether the uncritical adulation that she and her three daughters...lavished on their husband and father was what was really needed by a nature already too prone to construe disagreement as personal hostility."

On the "dual nature" of his personality: "One side was that of the sensible and sensitive man of many interests and activities who conscientiously viewed all sides of a question. The other was that of the self-assured idealist who could hadly conceive, much less admit, that he could be wrong in judging matters that he deemed within his peculiar sphere of expertise: the education of young men, the upholding of moral values, and, as we shall see, the establishment of world peace. This Wilson, with God and his angels presumably ranked behind him, tended to regard opposition as malicious betrayal."

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