Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Catherine Owens Peare’s The Herbert Hoover Story is a straightforward biographical account of Hoover’s life from birth to death. The emphasis throughout the book is upon the admirable characteristics, which young readers are expected to note, that carried Hoover from humble beginnings as an orphaned boy in Iowa to world fame as an engineer, administrator, and president of the United States. Writing in 1965, the year following Hoover’s death, Peare was able to draw upon a substantial list of timely and relevant published sources, including Hoover’s memoirs, his other writings, and interviews with his friends, to sustain a reputable level of accuracy in this favorable, uncritical account.

Fifteen crisp chapters form the substance of this chronological narrative, which, although unsupplemented by photographs or illustrations, is enlivened by well-selected and factually accurate conversations and quotations that quicken the young reader’s pace. Both the index and the select bibliography are useful and instructive appendages.

According to Peare’s presentation, Hoover’s life generally represented the rare fulfillment of the American Dream. It was even more uncommon—the author implicitly reminds the reader that “nice guys do not always finish last”—that this dream was realized by an individual of impeccable public character and private morals.

Peare divides the The Herbert Hoover Story into five...

(The entire section is 454 words.)