Delanceyplace.com End of Year Selections: Terrible Presidents Today’s encore selection — from One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson. Herbert Hoover went from a spectacular career in mining to international acclaim and celebrity in a war relief effort to derision and blame for the Great Depression:
“Fortunately America had a figure of rocklike calm — a kind of superman, a term that he was not embarrassed to apply to himself in private correspondence — to whom it could turn in times of crisis such as [the Mississippi flood of 1927]. His name was Herbert Hoover. Soon he would be the most derided president of his time — quite an achievement for someone elected in the same decade as Warren G. Harding — but in the spring of 1927 he was, and by a very wide margin, the world’s most trusted man. He was also, curiously, perhaps the least likable hero America has ever produced. The summer of 1927 would make him a little more of both.