Berg’s approach in defining Wilson is without any sharp criticism or defenses. He
sees him as a complete human being – brilliant, scholarly, opinionated, prejudiced
humanistic and forceful. His two marriages are given wide focus. and his personal
life is exposed. He made many friends, but was implacable with those
that disagreed with him. If one can made a single judgement of Wilson, it is
that he was a great reformer, but flawed in human perception. Convinced
he was right in political and international decisions, he would not accept any
criticism or challenge to his convictions. This overbearing self-righteousness
became the root of his failure in his greatest lifetime goal of the United States as a
active member of the League of Nations. Ultimately, he suffered both a physical
and political ending to his life.
Wilson was the first southern Democratic President to be elected twice to the highest office since the Civil War. After a dynamic role as President of Princeton and a brief role as governor of New Jersey, Wilson was catapulted to the Presidency. His lowering of many tariffs, creation of the Federal Reserve, popular election of Senators, giving women right to vote, made him revered throughout the nation.
A. Scott Berg’s Wilson is a wonderful source of understanding this great figure and
the background of the nation he represented. The first twenty years of the
twentieth century is definitely captured in his opus and is highly recommended
for the historian.