The Life of Bryan by Eric Miller

The Life of Bryan

A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan
by Michael Kazin
Knopf, 2006
(374 pages, $30.00, hardcover)

reviewed by Eric Miller

The rehabilitation of has-beens is a fact of political life as old as democracy itself. Curiously, this has proven to be as true for the dead as it is for the living, with figures ranging from John Adams to Dwight Eisenhower arising recently from history’s proverbial ash heap.

Such resurrections should no longer surprise anyone. But when in the first decade of the twenty-first century William Jennings Bryan, that paragon of yesteryear’s simplistic piety and colossal ignorance, comes in for a makeover, it cannot but force the reader (or at . . .