Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In The Woodrow Wilson Story: An Idealist in Politics, Catherine Owens Peare describes the early life of Thomas Woodrow Wilson, tracing step-by-step the influences that created in him the ideals for which he became famous. The book also presents a vivid personal view of the political and historical developments of the time in which he lived. Of particular interest is Wilson’s impression of war, which grew out of his childhood memories of the Civil War and extended to his pacifist views at the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

The author follows an almost entirely chronological narrative in The Woodrow Wilson Story; the sixteen chapters are divided according to major phases or events in the subject’s life. Much attention is placed on Wilson’s childhood, education, and search for a suitable vocation. The end of that search was a career as an educator, giving him the opportunity to influence the lives of many young men and women. Peare relies greatly on the recollections of Wilson’s family and friends, which adds a strong personal touch to the book.

One outstanding aspect of The Woodrow Wilson Story is the emphasis Peare gives to the influence of Joseph and Jessie Wilson in molding the lives of their children. Woodrow (or Tommy, as he was known as a child) gained his love of books and his first instruction in being a public speaker from his father. His mother was a consistent example of graciousness, and she...

(The entire section is 464 words.)