My review is for the abridged audiobook version read by the author. The author presents engaging profiles of nine American Presidents who persevered dMy review is for the abridged audiobook version read by the author. The author presents engaging profiles of nine American Presidents who persevered despite stiff opposition from either domestic or foreign adversaries (or both). He makes a special effort to show how the later executives were inspired or influenced by the example of earlier ones, giving the book a sense of unity despite the broad range of historical periods covered. I find his accounts to be mostly even-handed on the political spectrum, though "objective" isn't quite the word I would use to characterize them.
Such strong characters are easy to tell apart, and thinking about what might have happened if Adams served during the time of Lincoln or if one swapped Theodore and Franklin Roosevelts would make interesting speculations by enthusiasts of political history such as the ones who would most enjoy this book. Such readers would naturally be inclined to make comparisons between this book and other works covering the lives of those individuals who shaped history, not least of which the one John F. Kennedy wrote, Profiles in Courage. You can tell that Beschloss is aware of that famous work because he mentions it explicitly in the Kennedy section.
Drawing from the original documents and the accounts of eyewitnesses, he further fleshes out the inner workings of the Presidency by describing the influences of Cabinet members, financiers, First Ladies, and even celebrities. I would like to leaf through the hardcopy version of this book because of the way I suspect much of that might have had to be cut for this abridgment, though the one cameo appearance by Richard Nixon as ex-president does not go missing, fortunately. And as for the concluding section on how Ronald Reagan brought about an end to the Cold War, it is clear to me how much of a debt that man owes to his collaborator/adversary Mikhail Gorbachev for cementing his place in history....more
The story of the ascent itself was quite engaging and told in an elegant manner with admirable modesty. The last quarter of the book, where he describThe story of the ascent itself was quite engaging and told in an elegant manner with admirable modesty. The last quarter of the book, where he describes the calculation of the height of the peak, the previous attempts at the summit, and the naming of various features, can be skipped....more