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Decision Points
3.75
As expected, a former president tries to shore up his legacy by justifying controversial decisions and basking in the glow of his successes. I came in ...more
May 2011
Aug 12, 2011
 
What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception
3.18
I read this in tandem with Bush's Decision Points. For a book of dissent, McClellan's account agrees in many ways with Bush's. When the former press s ...more
May 2011
Aug 12, 2011
 
Thomas Jefferson
3.96
When Dumas Malone wrote Jefferson's biography, it took him six volumes at about 500 pages a pop. Bernstein does it in a single volume with a mere 200 ...more
Dec 2009
Dec 28, 2009
 
Washington: A Life
4.08
Every author writing on George Washington leads the preface with the same sentence: "The reason the world needs another Washington biography is becaus ...more
Feb 2011
Feb 10, 2011
 
James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights
3.53
The best take-aways from the book are that [1:] the Constitution didn't just happen and that [2:] the Bill of Rights certainly didn't just happen. The ...more
Jan 2010
Dec 28, 2009
 
Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson
3.51
Sure it's more pseudo-history filled with little commentaries and diatribes, but Inventing a Nation is thoughtful, well written, and enjoyable. Vidal' ...more
Mar 2009
Mar 09, 2009
 
John Adams: Party of One
3.83
After David McCullough brought the second president into vogue with his wonderful John Adams, one might wonder what James Grant could contribute in Pa ...more
Dec 2009
Aug 10, 2009
 
Memoirs and Selected Letters
4.28
Warning: This is not for everyone. Grant's memoir glazes over his upbringing and provides details on the Mexican-American War. Then it glazes some mor ...more
Nov 17, 2008
Aug 06, 2008
 
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
4.16
In my on-going quest to read a book about each president, this was the one on Garfield. He spent very little time in the office before being assassina ...more
Mar 2013
Oct 05, 2013
 
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
3.76
Written by now-President Obama when he was a recent law school grad, Dreams from My Father outlines a young man's search for a sense of purpose and pl ...more
Jan 2010
Nov 22, 2009
 
Coolidge
3.79
Coolidge has a reputation as being a dull, wet blanket with no charisma and minimal vision. Shlaes refutes this over the course of hundreds of meticul ...more
Aug 2013
Oct 05, 2013
 
Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power
3.79
Dallek uses a lot of quotes from recorded White House telephone conversations. This means two things: a pile of minutiae and better understanding of m ...more
Mar 13, 2008
Mar 05, 2008
 
An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
4.05
If you want to know the state of JFK's colon at every point throughout his life, this is your book. Dallek is a monster for detail—I liked it, but I c ...more
May 20, 2008
Mar 24, 2008
 
Washington's Crossing
4.11
Washington's Crossing covers a lot of the same ground as McCullough's 1776, but Fischer covers it from a different angle. He includes far more from th ...more
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Dec 15, 2008
 
John Adams
4.08
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Mar 11, 2008
 
The Power and the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative Has Determined Political Success from George Washington to George W. Bush
3.67
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Mar 12, 2008
 
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
4.32
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Mar 11, 2008
 
Theodore Rex
4.15
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Mar 13, 2008
 
Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800
3.94
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Mar 13, 2008
 
Washington: The Indispensable Man
4.05
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Mar 11, 2008
 
American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic
3.94
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Mar 11, 2008
 
His Excellency: George Washington
3.89
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Mar 11, 2008
 
An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America
3.99
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Mar 11, 2008
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