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Herbert Clark Hoover
Suggested Reading

Herbert Hoover: Forgotten Progressive
(Joan Hoff Wilson, Oscar Handlin (Editor))
This interesting and insightful book examines the life of one of America's least favored presidents with a sensitive and objective eye. Herbert Hoover's career followed a pattern familiar in the history of the United States: humble beginnings surmounted by hard work and tremendous ambition, wealth, public service and, eventually, the presidency. From his Quaker youth he acquired morals and values that he would preserve throughout his entire life. These values ultimately created an unbridgeable gulf between him and U.S. citizens as he confronted the Great Depression soon after taking office. There would always be little comprehension between the president and the people who looked to him for leadership. He died unpopular and isolated, disowned by his own party, embittered by the lack of understanding, and convinced that the burden of blame for the depression had been thrust on him unfairly. This volume seeks to shed light not only on the man and his career, but also on the evolving nation that rejected him.

Life of Herbert Hoover: The Humanitarian
(George H. Nash)
In the opening volume of this biography, Nash covers the first 40 years of Hoover's remarkably varied and productive life, with emphasis on his career as a mining engineer. The second installment deals with his masterful administration of the Commission for Relief in Belgium during World War I, which saw to the acquisition and distribution of food, clothing and medical supplies to more than nine million Belgian and French citizens trapped between the German army of occupation and a British naval blockade. It was the largest relief program in history, and the fulcrum of its success was Hoover's ability to elicit cooperation from British and French cabinet ministers, German generals, Belgian financiers and American charity officials. Nash leaves no doubt that Hoover's cultivation of public support for the effort in the U.S. was crucial. By 1917, the one-time mining engineer who was to become our 31st president had earned an international reputation as a humanitarian and had taken his first major step on the long road to the White House. A memorable portrait of a man who was "a personified combination of idealism and power."

The Life of Herbert Hoover: Masters of Emergencies
(George H. Nash)
"Food will win the war," proclaimed engineer-turned-bureaucrat Herbert Hoover, with a tinge of self-promotion, as head of the U.S. Food Administration, the WWI agency responsible for feeding America's troops overseas. While cloaking his efforts in the comforting language of voluntarism, the nervous, high-strung food czar, incessantly smoking Havana cigars, used a mix of price controls, exhortations, constraints and propaganda to seduce the general populace into eating less and reducing waste so our fighting forces could get adequate food supplies. As chairman of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, Hoover orchestrated a massive emergency operation that provided desperately needed food to millions of Belgian and French citizens trapped between the German army of occupation and the British naval blockade. Hoover became a hero to legions of American housewives, middle-class professionals and businessmen, though farmers, livestock producers and middlemen saw him as a meddling, insensitive outsider, an image that dogged the future president all the way to the White House. In this absorbing third installment of a multivolume biography, Nash, a historian of conservatism, reconstructs an important chapter in American history.

The Life of Herbert Hoover: The Engineer
(George H. Nash)

The Presidency of Herbert C. Hoover
(Martin L. Fausold)
"The most important work on the subject yet published, likely to rank as the standard source on the Hoover presidency for years to come."
-American Historical Review


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