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The American Presidents: Biographies of the Chief Executives from Washington Through Clinton (Guild America Books)

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Concise but thorough profiles of the forty-one presidents of the United States furnish a detailed portrait of each man, an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, personal anecdotes, and important facts about their terms of office.


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Concise but thorough profiles of the forty-one presidents of the United States furnish a detailed portrait of each man, an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, personal anecdotes, and important facts about their terms of office.

30 review for The American Presidents: Biographies of the Chief Executives from Washington Through Clinton (Guild America Books)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Farhin

    Short biographies of all the Presidents of America so far, packed into one giant volume - that was pretty much it to scare me. But David C. Whitney's writing was enough to win me over. The undertones of american patriotism to admitting the scandals and the faults and flaws with some presidencies were written flawlessly. The written execution of the short biographies were simple, informative and educative. I could sense pride and impartiality in the writing with every president portrayed with Short biographies of all the Presidents of America so far, packed into one giant volume - that was pretty much it to scare me. But David C. Whitney's writing was enough to win me over. The undertones of american patriotism to admitting the scandals and the faults and flaws with some presidencies were written flawlessly. The written execution of the short biographies were simple, informative and educative. I could sense pride and impartiality in the writing with every president portrayed without prejudice regardless of their actions. It was like being taught by an old fashioned, yet respectable and socially compatible teacher that all students come to love. I read this to gain some background knowledge for my A2 Government & Politics class and I am absolutely content with what I got. This was exactly what I needed to introduce myself to American Politics - understanding the rich history that lay with all the presidents thus far written concisely without missing any details in a manner that allowed me to absorb the information without difficulty. Just a side note: I didn't read up on all the presidents. Below are the names of the presidents I did read about and events/facts that I found of particular interest for each: George Washington - The first President of the United States. Drew up Constitution. Abraham Lincoln - Emancipation Proclamation. Assassination. Theodore Roosevelt - Roosevelt Corollary. He also prowled the streets at night to lookout for police officers that were not doing their duty. At the time, corruption was high in the police department. Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Cousin to Theodore Roosevelt. New Deal. John Fitzgerald Kennedy - New Frontier Program (the Peace Corps). Proposal of expansion of civil rights. Appointment of younger brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General. 'Alliance for Progress' (10 year plan to develop Latin American countries). Overthrowing of Fidel Castro in Cuba (failed). Assassination. Lyndon Baines Johnson - 'Great Society' (social protection laws). Vietnam war (attempt to prevent communists overtaking South Vietnam, sent ground troops.) Assassination of Martin Luther King & Robert Kennedy during LBJ's presidency. Richard Milhous Nixon - Resignation to avoid impeachment after Watergate Scandal. Nixon's visit to China for trade purposes. "Pentagon Papers" scandal (top secret information about Vietnam War released). Rejection of drafts by young soldiers. Unbeknownst to the American public or Congress, Nixon promised North Vietnamese leaders $4.75 billion dollars if they ended the war. Repetition of vetoes. Congress pass law that requires the Executive to consult with Congress before sending U.S. troops to war. Ronald Reagan - Oldest President. "Reaganomics". Biggest recession since WWII. Appointment of first woman in court (Sandra Day O'Connor). Reagan Doctrine (increase of military strength, action or aid to fight Soviet backed governments in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa, Central America and the Caribbean). Bin Laden trained by the U.S. to fight against Soviets in Afghanistan. William Jefferson Clinton - Lewinsky scandal (affair with intern). Impeachment by House and trial by Senate. George W. Bush - Did not win popular vote. Tax cuts passed each year during first term. "No Child Left Behind" bipartisanship. Government funding for embryonic stem-cell research and prohibition of government funding for abortion. Withdrawal from Kyoto Protocol and International Ballistic Missile Treaty. Deployed National Missile Defense System. American involvement in Middle East (reversal of Republican policy). New cabinet position of Homeland Security after 9/11 attacks. Passing of the Patriot Act. Failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, justification of war. Assassination of Saddam Hussein. Abu Ghraib (prisoner torture scandal). Slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Scandals led to both houses of Congress to be lost to Democrats. Set up Guantanamo Bay and secret prisons (also known as "black sites"). Injected large sums of taxpayer money into banks (also a reversal of Rep. policy of limiting Government intervention in markets). Barack Obama - First black President. First President to make full use of internet to raise money for campaign. Barack Obama's biography was short as the revision of this book only occurred in 2009 (I think). I highly recommend this book to anyone from beginners to pros of American Politics. It's great for History too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan (aka Just My Op)

    I admit it, history didn't interest me very much while I was in school, and I've forgotten most of the little I learned. I thought it was high time I learned a bit more and that a high-level introduction to the presidents of the United States would be a good start. This book, the eleventh addition, fits the bill very well. Of course, a single volume covering all the presidents up to the current time has to cover each administration only in broad strokes. Each section starts with the important da I admit it, history didn't interest me very much while I was in school, and I've forgotten most of the little I learned. I thought it was high time I learned a bit more and that a high-level introduction to the presidents of the United States would be a good start. This book, the eleventh addition, fits the bill very well. Of course, a single volume covering all the presidents up to the current time has to cover each administration only in broad strokes. Each section starts with the important dates of that president's life and political career. Important decisions and policies are included, along with background on those decisions. For such a compact book, there are also quite a few excerpts of speeches given by the presidents. There are about 35 pages of condensed information at the back of the book, and a portrait or photograph of each president. This eleventh edition ends with the election of Barack Obama. All in all, this is a great book for someone who wants to brush up on U.S. Presidents before delving more deeply into any individual one, or someone like me who just didn't pay enough attention to history classes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I was hoping this book would help me understand why the US is the way it is now. I should have known that question was much too complicated for a single book. But I am much closer to understanding. The book is well written. The back is full of lots of interesting lists. It's a great resource. The biggest thing I learned is that each of these presidents were mere humans trying to do their best with the situation they found themselves in. My opinions of all the presidents were raised by reading th I was hoping this book would help me understand why the US is the way it is now. I should have known that question was much too complicated for a single book. But I am much closer to understanding. The book is well written. The back is full of lots of interesting lists. It's a great resource. The biggest thing I learned is that each of these presidents were mere humans trying to do their best with the situation they found themselves in. My opinions of all the presidents were raised by reading their stories: especially James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson. My vote for the worst president (through 2009, when this edition was published): Warren G. Harding. He had no opinions of his own and went with the crowd every time. My vote for the best president: Abraham Lincoln. He had a strong sense of right and wrong. He had incredible benevolence for the south despite their bad choices. The south would have been much better off had he lived to finish his second term.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    With my recent crusade to study the lives of our American presidents, I picked up this copy of "The American Presidents" by David C. Whitney to refresh my general knowledge of the succession of our leaders from the beginning of our nation. This particular edition published in 1969 only leads up to President Nixon, however, the latest re-publication extends to Obama. I enjoyed this book for the purpose that it served me and recommend it as an excellent accompaniment to one's American history resour With my recent crusade to study the lives of our American presidents, I picked up this copy of "The American Presidents" by David C. Whitney to refresh my general knowledge of the succession of our leaders from the beginning of our nation. This particular edition published in 1969 only leads up to President Nixon, however, the latest re-publication extends to Obama. I enjoyed this book for the purpose that it served me and recommend it as an excellent accompaniment to one's American history resources, though I would consider it mostly a reference book, not necessarily a "cover to cover" read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Sparks

    Good overview of the presidents and for the most part it was unbiased. I was surprised by how much I learned about George HW Bush. I felt like I knew that time period since I was alive and watched the news with my parents, but there was a lot that went over my head as a kid and that I never learned in school since it was the present and not history. This book made me dislike Teddy Roosevelt almost as much as I dislike FDR and enforced my love of Silent Cal "I veto everything" Coolidge. Good overview of the presidents and for the most part it was unbiased. I was surprised by how much I learned about George HW Bush. I felt like I knew that time period since I was alive and watched the news with my parents, but there was a lot that went over my head as a kid and that I never learned in school since it was the present and not history. This book made me dislike Teddy Roosevelt almost as much as I dislike FDR and enforced my love of Silent Cal "I veto everything" Coolidge.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Gives a short overview of each of the presidents. Covers their rise to the presidency, highlights what they did while in office and tells about their lives after they left the White House. Does not go into much depth but does give a concise bit of data about each president.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    It took me forever to read this book but it was a good overview of the lives of our U.S. Presidents up until William Jefferson Clinton. It is not an entertaining book, but an excellent reference if someone is interested in POTUS.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    The first half of this book (pre-1900's era Presidents) was very interesting, but my interest started flagging the more recent the Presidents became. Getting through Nixon, Reagan and all the rest was torture. But I did it!!! The first half of this book (pre-1900's era Presidents) was very interesting, but my interest started flagging the more recent the Presidents became. Getting through Nixon, Reagan and all the rest was torture. But I did it!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Exactly what it sounds like and nothing more. 10-25 page summaries of each presidency and the life of the men before and after.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    It was very interesting & informative. Learned some new things.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Just enough information about every president up to Reagan to remain interesting yet light.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chase Parsley

    This collection is a definite diamond in the rough. Each president is written about in entertaining prose, and the analysis is clear. A great book to have lying around the house for reference.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jdetrick

    Writing this book was obviously a difficult project, and the book certainly has flaws. But for a well researched snapshot of every president up through Obama, when the book was written, it's remarkably well executed. It goes into more detail then one might expect on every chief executive, although it spends a disproportionate amount of its time on our most recent presidents, which is somewhat frustrating. By the time we're up to Carter, I feel like we're practically getting a month by month rund Writing this book was obviously a difficult project, and the book certainly has flaws. But for a well researched snapshot of every president up through Obama, when the book was written, it's remarkably well executed. It goes into more detail then one might expect on every chief executive, although it spends a disproportionate amount of its time on our most recent presidents, which is somewhat frustrating. By the time we're up to Carter, I feel like we're practically getting a month by month rundown of their administrations, and details that are never offered for presidents of earlier eras. There's also a nice amount of supplementary material after the biographies, including charts of vote counts, spouses, cabinets and the like, as well as a very nice history of how the office of the president was created at the end of the eighteenth century.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I read the 1967 edition of this book. Being so many years removed from the writing of the book greatly added to my enjoyment. The short bios of the presidents through LBJ were interesting and motivated me to look into some presidents further. I recommend this as a nice layman’s intro to the presidents.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kim Marley

    Love reading about the Presidents

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Great for a snapshot of each President. Although my version was inherited from a relative and only went through part of the Nixon administration. Ha. I will have to look for the updated version.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

    Read many years ago; re-reading as an overview of each president to complement the American Presidents Series biography.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian Cecil

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brad Thompson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jesse L

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  23. 4 out of 5

    Blake Suedekum

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shaindel

    I read the version published in early 2001, just after Bush 43's inauguration. There are short biographies of each president. All are impartial, fair, balanced, and interesting to read. I read the version published in early 2001, just after Bush 43's inauguration. There are short biographies of each president. All are impartial, fair, balanced, and interesting to read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Henryetta

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Hoff

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michell Jacobsen

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

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