OverviewCovering an eventful period in Herbert Hoover’s career—and, more specifically, his life as a political pugilist from 1933 to 1955—this previously unknown memoir was composed and revised by the 31st president during the 1940s and 1950s—and then, surprisingly, set aside. This work recounts Hoover’s family life after March 4, 1933, his myriad philanthropic interests, and, most of all, his unrelenting “crusade against collectivism” in American life. Aside from its often feisty account of Hoover’s political activities during the Roosevelt and Truman eras, and its window on Hoover’s private life and campaigns for good causes, The Crusade Years invites readers to reflect on the factors that made his extraordinarily fruitful postpresidential years possible. The pages of this memoir recount the story of Hoover’s later life, his abiding political philosophy, and his vision of the nation that gave him the opportunity for service. This is, in short, a remarkable saga told in the former president’s own words and in his own way that will appeal as much to professional historians and political scientists as it will lay readers interested in history.
Reviews“Superbly introduced and edited by acclaimed Herbert Hoover biographer George H. Nash, The Crusade Years is far more than a simple apologia pro vita sua. It offers touching glimpses into Hoover’s rich personal life and a trenchant critique of the post–New Deal American social contract that amounts to nothing less than the cornerstone of modern conservatism. By turns intimate, humorous, and combative—even occasionally petulant—this last volume of Hoover’s memoirs will interest historians and general readers alike.” —DAVID KENNEDY is professor of history emeritus at Stanford University and the author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945.
“Herbert Hoover, self-styled crusader, is in full flower in these pages—part memoirist, part polemicist, coupling intimate portraiture with a public history that is profoundly relevant. Once again George Nash demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Hoover, while assembling the former president's intellectual brief against the New Deal in a style that is both highly readable and faithful to its author’s sometimes quirky standards. Together with its companion volume, Freedom Betrayed, The Crusade Years completes at last the sprawling work of revisionism Hoover called ‘my Roosevelt book.’ It is, in fact, much more than that. It is hard to imagine any comprehensive account of those tumultuous years that fails to incorporate the evidence compiled by Hoover and made accessible to modern Americans by his foremost interpreter.” —RICHARD NORTON SMITH is a presidential historian and author, former director of several presidential libraries, and current scholar-in-residence at George Mason University.
“George Nash, always the curious academic detective, has discovered and published the private thoughts of Hoover on the New Deal. This excellent memoir edition reminds us that Hoover (1) was the chief original crusader against New Deal collectivism, (2) argued that the New Deal could be rolled back, and (3) showed what it took to be the first activist ex-president in American politics. Well done, very timely, and with a helpful introduction.” —GORDON LLOYD is professor of public policy at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University.
“With unparalleled and meticulous scholarship, editor George Nash reveals the Herbert Hoover we never knew: the prophet. It is striking how powerful Hoover’s warnings against statist progressivism remain—how easily these pages could be turned into blogposts as conservatives battle ‘progressives’ in our own day.” —AMITY SHLAES, author, Coolidge and The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Depression
“The Crusade Years fills a crucial gap in the literary legacy left by our thirty-first president in the years after he left the White House. Another important piece of the Hoover puzzle, it complements Freedom Betrayed, posthumously plugging gaps in domestic policy as the earlier book did for foreign policy. Beyond the political wars, it illuminates the human side of Hoover: his family and hobbies, love of fishing, of people, and of his alma mater. The orphan’s heart also lingered long over the plight of America’s children, demonstrated by his contributions to the Boys’ Clubs of America. Editor George H. Nash provides an introductory analysis of Hoover’s life, establishes the historical context for the evolution of the manuscript, and elucidates Hoover’s motives and methodology. This long-delayed, scrupulously edited book is essential to understanding our most active and tenacious ex-president, a cornerstone in the written legacy compiled by this prolific statesman and his most indefatigable historian.” —GLEN JEANSONNE is professor of history, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and author of The Life of Herbert Hoover: Fighting Quaker, 1928–1933.
“Through tenacious and persistent scholarship coupled with artful editing, George H. Nash, the dean of Hoover scholars, has admirably reconstructed Hoover’s last literary effort, a missing link long unknown to scholars. In The Crusade Years the guarded, enigmatic ex-president candidly discusses his personal and family life and clearly articulates his objections to collectivism while forcefully arguing for a realist political philosophy based on individualism and volunteerism. The Crusade Years establishes Hoover as one of the preeminent political thinkers of the last century, a man who developed a ‘political yardstick’ useful in analyzing today’s topsy-turvy politics.” —HAL ELLIOTT WERT is professor of history, Kansas City Art Institute, and author of Hoover, the Fishing President: Portrait of the Private Man and His Life Outdoors.
“For many years Herbert Hoover worked on a memoir of his post presidential years, almost until his death at ninety. Now George Nash, the premier historian of American conservatism, has unearthed this vast work from the Hoover Institution Archives and has edited it for publication. Nash has also provided an illuminating introduction to this fine contribution to the historical record.” —MICHAEL BARONE is senior political analyst at the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics.
“Herbert Hoover’s life, despite his difficult presidency, was followed by his many humanitarian works. After World War II, he worked to provide food for the new Germany. Hoover helped provide 40,000 tons of food for more than three million children. Few people, both before and after his presidency, have done more to help so many people.” —ALAN BRINKLEY is Allan Nevins Professor of History and provost emeritus at Columbia University, and author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and The Publisher: Henry Luce and his American Century.
Author BiographyGeorge H. Nash is a historian, a lecturer, and an expert on the life of Herbert Hoover. He is the author of a three-volume scholarly biography of Hoover and the monograph Herbert Hoover and Stanford University, as well as of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945, Freedom Betrayed, and Reappraising the Right: The Past and Future of American Conservatism. The 2008 recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters, he lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts.