To those who loved him, like Teddy Roosevelt, he was "Nicholas Miraculous," the fabled educator who had a hand in everything; to those who did not, like Upton Sinclair, he was "the intellectual leader of the American plutocracy," a champion of "false and cruel ideals." Ezra Pound branded him "one of the more loathsome figures" of the age.
Whether celebrated or despised, Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947) was undeniably an irresistible force who helped shape American history.
With wit and irony, Michael Rosenthal traces Butler's rise to prominence as president of Columbia University, which he presided over for forty-four years and developed into one of the world's most distinguished institutions of research and teaching.
Butler also won the Nobel Peace Prize and headed both the Carnegie Endowment and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among innumerable other organizations.
In 1920, he sought the Republican nomination for president, managing to garner more votes on the first ballot than the eventual winner, Warren Harding.
Rosenthal's richly detailed, elegantly crafted narrative captures the mania and genius that propelled Butler to these extraordinary achievements and more. Thick with social, cultural, and political history, Nicholas Miraculous recreates Butler's prodigious career and the dynamic age that nourished him.