The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: A Biography - Vol. 1

The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: A Biography - Vol. 1

The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: A Biography - Vol. 1

The Life and Times of William Howard Taft: A Biography - Vol. 1

Excerpt

It is not improbable that William Howard Taft would disapprove of certain parts of this biography. Outwardly, he was the soul of decorum; too much so, perhaps, for his own good. Beneath the decorum, however, was a man with very pronounced views. He had emphatic opinions about people as well as issues and these opinions were often set forth in his private letters. "Confidential and personal" was the warning on many of his communications. Taft would have been scandalized had they been published while he was alive.

This life of Taft is authorized but not official. The distinction is vital. The author was given unrestricted access to all the hundreds of thousands of letters in the Taft collection at the Library of Congress and to all other available material. This was due entirely to the very unusual position taken by Robert, Charles and Helen Taft (now Mrs. Frederick J. Manning). They are the owners of their father's papers and are his literary executors. They permitted the author to wander at will through the enormous treasure house which the collection is. He could quote as he pleased. He could draw what judgments he liked. The sole restriction was the logical one against involving the Taft estate in a libel suit. This book, then, has no trace of official, family endorsement. The literary executors did not even read the manuscript in its present, final, revised form.

Needless to say, then, the executors are in no way responsible for any statement I have made concerning their father or anybody else or for any conclusions I have drawn.

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