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Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House
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Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
…entertaining and illuminating…--The Washington Post

...lively accounts....This engrossing book [is] Highly recommended for public libraries.--Library Journal

…for those interested in the former presidents, this popular history will do the trick.-- Publishers Weekly

...revealing in detail and context--Kirkus Reviews

Mark K. Updegrove’s Second Acts is a smart and provocative lo
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Lyons Press
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Frances Johnson
Nov 26, 2013 Frances Johnson rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome book. Beginning with Harry Truman through Bill Clinton, the author writes about the Presidents after they left office. Their accomplishments, how they worked with each other, and their legacies make for interesting and truthfully, inspiring reading. I felt very happy when reading this book and then it dawned on me, Updegrove shows how even former enemies can become friends and partner to do good things. He also shows how men who were at the height of success (as President) can ...more
Travis McClain
Feb 16, 2011 Travis McClain rated it liked it
Living in the era of Jimmy Carter, Global Peacemaker and the Bush/Clinton fundraisers I'd become curious about the lives of presidents out of office. This book was mentioned in one episode of the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, and shortly thereafter I promptly found a copy at Half Price Books. My three-star rating would suggest that I wasn't wholly satisfied with it and that's true. Much of the material covered by author Updegrove was familiar to me already. Yes, I'm more acutely int ...more
Very Interesting
Aug 26, 2007 Michael rated it it was ok
The book is the only one the I'm aware of to really look at the strange position that former presidents hold. I've long been fascinated by the lives they've led after they left the White House, particularly Nixon (I could read a whole book about his post-presidency) and George H.W. Bush. Unfortunately, the book was good in places, but disappointing in others. The author seems not to be a serious historian and his claim to journalism fame was being the publisher of Newsweek, the LA manager of ...more
Jonathan Mandell
Jul 09, 2007 Jonathan Mandell rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: politicos, retirees
Before Truman, presidents received no pension from the government. Now, they get $186,000 a year, plus Secret Service protection, plus office expenses, etc. But that's just base pay for perks from the private sector. Reagan got $2 million for eight days of public appearances in Japan. Clinton made $10 million in 2006 from speeches.
This book goes chapter by chapter from Truman to Clinton, and, while a clip-and-paste job and not that terrifically written, there are worthwhile tidbits.
Nixon spent
Apr 21, 2013 Josh rated it liked it
I'm a presidential history dork, and in that regard I really enjoyed reading this book. Wonderful factoids--my two favorites were LBJ's hippie hairstyle post-presidency and Hillary's initial hitting on Bill in the Yale School library--but the writing is so sloppy that it makes this book a lot harder to recommend. The anecdotes from one chapter/presidency bleed into the next. Word choice is sloppy.
It's a 4 star for information and 2-star for writing quality.
Nov 09, 2015 Sheila rated it really liked it
This book reinforced what I already thought, that what ex-presidents do after their presidential term matters greatly. The services and agendas they pursue can be of great importance to the world. The author did a great job catching the essence of each presidents "second act" which made me wish (and sad) President Kennedy could have be afforded this as well. Easy read and entertaining.
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