Author Patricia O’Toole to read from ‘The Moralist’ April 26 at Left Bank Books
BELFAST — On Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m., Left Bank Books in Belfast invites the public to an author talk and book signing to celebrate the release of The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made, a new biography of the 28th president (1913 -1921) by historian Patricia O'Toole. Previous works by O'Toole include the acclaimed When Trumpets Call, an account of Theodore Roosevelt's final decade, and a biography of Henry Adams, The Five of Hearts, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
In The Moralist, O'Toole revisits the presidency as it was a century ago and rethinks many of the standard interpretations of Woodrow Wilson and his legacy. The Moralist recounts Wilson's religious upbringing, his academic career, and his early leadership experiences as president of Princeton University and governor of New Jersey. The book evaluates his unprecedented success with Congress, his vision of a peaceful world order, his moral blind spots – on race, women's suffrage, and free speech in wartime – and the tragedy of a final defeat that was largely self-inflicted.
O'Toole argues that moral considerations inspired Wilson's biggest ideas, his most important acts, and his greatest political battles. "Because democracy rests on the consent of the governed, [Wilson] believed it the most moral form of government, and. . . that the success of American democracy made the United States a morally superior nation. . . .But ultimately, his righteousness veered into self-righteousness and played a major part in his downfall."
Jon Meacham, author of American Lion and Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, said of The Moralist: "With a sure hand and clarity of thought, O'Toole has given us a Woodrow Wilson in all his complexity. From our role in the world to our views of each other at home, much of our America can be traced to the epic events of the Wilson presidency, and O'Toole tells that story with grace and insight."
O'Toole is a former professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University in New York City, where she taught nonfiction workshops as well as seminars on research, plot, and narrating the past. She is a fellow of the Society of American Historians.
To reserve a seat at this free event, or to order copies of The Moralist in advance, please call (207) 338-9009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Left Bank Books is located in the historic Opera House block at 109 Church Street across from the police station, in downtown Belfast. Ample on-street parking is available in front of the shop and in an adjacent parking lot.