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Gorer, G. (1967). Thomas Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study: By Sigmund Freud and William C. Bullitt. (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Pp. 265, 36s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 48:468-470.

(1967). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 48:468-470

Thomas Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study: By Sigmund Freud and William C. Bullitt. (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Pp. 265, 36s.)

Review by:
Geoffrey Gorer

The motive inspiring this distasteful essay in posthumous denigration can probably be found in the public letter Bullitt wrote to President Wilson in May 1919, when he resigned from the American delegation to the Paris peace conference. Part of it says:

I was one of the millions who trusted confidently and implicitly in your leadership and believed that you would take nothing less than a "permanent peace" based upon "unselfish and unbiased justice" … I am sorry that you did not fight our fight to the finish and that you had so little faith in the millions of men, like myself, in every nation who had faith in you.

Bullitt clearly thought he had been personally betrayed; in the long interruption of his professional career entailed by his resignation he must have been simmering with indignation and probably found comfort in the idea of a book which would show the world that his former idol had feet of clay—up to the eyebrows.

This work would seem to be almost completely worthless as history. It is totally undocumented and records only those facts which show Wilson in an unfavourable light. On the basis of this book it is impossible to understand how the governors of Princeton or the electors of New Jersey and of the United States could have chosen and re-chosen so inadequate a man for offices of the highest responsibility. Thoughts and feelings are imputed to Wilson in the fashion of mediocre historical novelists.

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