Watching The World Go By

Willis J. Abbot

My Copies



I bought this book solely to verify an incredible quote from Burner's "Herbert Hoover" in which President-elect Hoover allegedly worried about having to take the fall if some unprecedented calamity hit the US with which nobody knew how to deal. It appears to have been a pretty accurate citation!


Sitting before a fire in the home on one of the islands in the harbor, Mr. Hoover talked frankly about his coming activities. "I am not at all apprehensive of the normal work of the Presidency," he said. "It is arduous and taxing, of course, but that is to be expected. What does somewhat disquiet me is the way in which I have been over-advertised. My friends have made the American people think me a sort of superman, able to cope successfully with the most difficult and complicated problems. They expect the impossible of me and should there arise in the land conditions with which the political machinery is unable to cope, I will be the one to suffer."

This forecast, expressed at a moment when the approach of heavy responsibilities naturally led to a searching of the mind was almost precisely fulfilled. Because he could not deal successfully and at once with a business depression which affected industry and finance all over the world, President Hoover four years later was rejected by the people.

  • about Herbert Hoover
    • pp. 344-345 (Little, Brown, and Company, 1933)

    On January 22, 1929, Hoover left for a Florida vacation at the home of J. C. Penney. Before an open fire at the island house on Biscayne Bay, a pensive Hoover remarked to the editor of the Christian Science Monitor: "I have no dread of the ordinary work of the presidency. What I do fear is the result of the exaggerated idea the people have conceived of me. They have a conviction that I am a sort of superman, that no problem is beyond my capacity ... If some unprecedented calamity should come upon the nation ... I would be sacrificed to the unreasoning disappointment of a people who expected too much."

  • by Herbert Hoover, David Burner
  • about James Cash Penney, Willis J. Abbot
    • p. 345 (Little, Brown, and Company, 1933)

    Few people appreciate the fact that when Presidents change, but not parties, there is no patronage at the disposal of the newcomer. President Roosevelt entered on his duties with one hundred and fifty thousand offices to distribute. Hoover had none.

  • about Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    • p. 346 (Little, Brown, and Company, 1933)

    No President, in my lifetime at least, had so burdensome and sorrowful an administration as did Herbert Hoover. Only Lincoln had graver problems to deal with. That Hoover should have failed of reelection was inevitable. The remorseless forces, for which he was not in any way responsible, that wiped out in two years two thirds of the fortunes of the United States, wrecked his political fortunes as well.

  • about Herbert Hoover, Abraham Lincoln
    • p. 347 (Little, Brown, and Company, 1933)