Book Nook Cafe discussion

208 views
New Book Releases & Book Lists > U.S. Presidents & History books

Comments (showing 1-50 of 454) (454 new)    post a comment »

message 1: by Alias Reader (last edited Dec 05, 2010 04:15PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments Here is a thread to list and discuss books on the U.S. Presidents and history.


message 2: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 28, 2010 09:20AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments X- Posting from other threads to this new thread

Alias:
My f2f book club usually selects fiction reads that I really don't care to own/buy. I rather get these types of books from the library. But since it is a bookstore book club, I feel obligated to buy something.

Since one of my life long reading challenges is to read a biography of each president, I thought I could start buying the books to reach this goal. Thereby satisfying the bookstore owner and not leaving me with books I don't want to own. Also these are the type of books I would use as reference and also would write a lot in.

I decided to buy-
Nixonland America's Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon, 1965-1972. Nixonland: America's Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon, 1965-1972.~ Rick Perlstein


I've only heard good things about this book.

Deborah, I know you have the same reading goal, so I thought I would post my selection for Nixon.
=============================================

message 24: by madrano
Sep 27, 2010 06:21am

life long reading challenges is to read a biography of each president, I thought I could start buying the books to reach this goal. Thereby satisfying the bookstore owner and not leaving me with books I don't want to own. Also these are the type of books I would use as reference and also would write a lot in. ..."

Great solution, Alias! Win-win, i think. And thanks for the title. It doesn't sound as though it's a bio but would probably incorporate his life story in it.

I toyed with the idea of reading only Presidential Autobiographies, if they wrote one. I changed my mind fairly quickly but thought i'd share this website about them. http://www.biblio.com/unbound/2008/11/au...

deborah

==========================================

message 25: by Mike
Sep 27, 2010 08:30am

quoted: Alias Reader wrote: "Since one of my life long reading challenges is to read a biography of each president..."
-------------
Mike replied:
Quite a challenge! Quite rewarding as well. As I've been saying I'm looking at non-fiction to add to my challenge, I've neglected it in the past. Y'all got me motivated me for a presidential biography theme of "best and worse" in my lifetime. I'm going to pick one about Jimmy Carter and one about George W. Bush. The best and worst is just my humble opinion of course and not so much about how they ran the country but more about which I admire the most and least.

============================================

message 26: by Alias Reader

quoting madrano wrote:
I toyed with the idea of reading only Presidential Autobiographies, if they wrote one. I changed my mind fairly quickly but thought i'd share this website about them. http://www.biblio.com/unbound/2008/11/au...."
----------------------
alias replied:
I am keeping it open to autobiographies, biographies, memoirs and histories.

Not all presidents write well, so I don't want to limit myself. Also an autobiography is not always the most honest or evenhanded view of the events.

The reason I decided on this challenge is I think if I could get a decent grasp on the Presidents it would give me a great time line in my head for when I am reading other books.

============================================
message 27: by Alias Reader

quoting Mike wrote: quoting Alias: "Since one of my life long reading challenges is to read a biography of each president..."
-----------
Mike replied
Quite a challenge! Quite rewarding as well. As I've been saying I'm looking at non-fi..."
-------------

Alias replied
I've read a few books that Jimmy Carter wrote and I've enjoyed them. I haven't read any George W. Bush books.

Just the other day his wife was on Book TV, she has a new book out, she was on TV for the National Book Fair held on the Mall in D.C. She is the one who started the fair. Anyway, she noted her husband's new book will be out in a few months.

Recently I read a book by Jonathan Alter on Obama. I was really looking forward to it as I felt Alter's book on FDR was one of the best books I've ever read. I find the period so fascinating because you have the Great Depression and WWII.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed in his Obama book. I think the problem is I lived through the events and since they just happened I was a bit bored. I didn't learn a great deal.

Unless I read a book that has the opposite views that I hold of more recent presidents, I fear I will have the same reaction.

Maybe, if a few of us decide to do this we can have a thread for books on the Presidents. I know that will help me decide which books to read. Some of these Presidential books are huge. So I would like input before I take the plunge with a 800 page book !

The Defining Moment FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of HopeThe Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope~ Jonathan Alter

==============================================

message 28: by Susan


Reading mention of one of the presidential books, not saying which one, my first thought was "Does that come with crayons?" Ooooh, bad me.

=======================================

message 29: by madrano

quoting Susan wrote: "Reading mention of one of the presidential books, not saying which one, my first thought was "Does that come with crayons?" Ooooh, bad me."
-----------------
Madrano replied

Spewing coffee over the keyboard as i read that, Susan!

anonymous

=================================================
message 30: by madrano


quoting Alias Reader wrote: "Not all presidents write well, so I don't want to limit myself. Also an autobiography is not always the most honest or evenhanded view of the events.

The reason I decided on this challenge is I think if I could get a decent grasp on the Presidents it would give me a great time line in my head for when I am reading other books. ..."
---------------------------
Madrano replied:
I agree about the writing abilities. However, i do enjoy reading what topics autobiographers slide over and which they give in detail. As mentioned elsewhere, though, this means i have to read a bio to learn "the truth". ;-) Overall, i'd prefer a bio.

And i'm with you on the timeline. There are hunks of U.S. history i know i don't have correctly in my mind but would like to. It seemed to me Presidential biographies will not only do that but also, if they are well written, give the reader a taste of the times in which the portrayed lived. Often this is equally important, as you know.
----------------------------

quoting Alias Reader wrote: "Maybe, if a few of us decide to do this we can have a thread for books on the Presidents. I know that will help me decide which books to read. Some of these Presidential books are huge. So I would like input before I take the plunge with a 800 page book!"
--------------
Madrano replied:
I like this idea. Even those who do not share our goal have read bios and could share their opinions on the books.

deborah

==========================================
message 31: by Susan


I have American Sphinx The Character of Thomas Jefferson American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis on my next-reads shelf, but it keeps getting nudged aside. I'd like to see a thread for the presidential books -- maybe it will make American Shinx be a little more pushy around the other books.

======================================

message 32: by Alias Reader

Okay. I'll set up a thread. :) I'm glad to read that there is interest.

American Sphinx does sound interesting. Though why must all these books be as big as door stops! I wish there was a presidential seris that was reasonable in page size that I enjoyed. I've tried a few and found them so dry as to be unreadable.

I forgot to mention, Mike, that Jimmy Carter has been on TV recently because he has a new book out. You may have already heard about it. It's the diary he kept while in office.

White House DiaryWhite House Diary~Jimmy Carter

=================================================

message 33: by madrano
quote Susan wrote: "I have American Sphinx The Character of Thomas Jefferson American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis on my next-reads shelf, ..."
-------------
Madrano replied:
Susan, i hope to read that one, too. Actually, 5 years or so ago i began it. While it caught my interest, i had to drop it for other reading imperatives. ;-) I look forward to reading it (i will have to start all over, as it was a library book & i have no memory of where i left off) even though i read another bio about him.

deborah


message 3: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 28, 2010 09:12AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments GR Links for books mentioned in the above threads.

Providing the GR link and author helps to populate the "Books mentioned in this topic" and "Authors mentioned in this topic" link list provided on the right hand side of the page. This feature provides a quick an easy way to see all the books/authors mentioned in a thread without having to read all the posts in the thread.

Nixonland  America's Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon, 1965-1972.  by Rick PerlsteinNixonland: America's Second Civil War and the Divisive Legacy of Richard Nixon, 1965-1972.~ Rick Perlstein

The Defining Moment  FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan AlterThe Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope~ Jonathan Alter

American Sphinx  The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. EllisAmerican Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson~ Joseph J. Ellis

White House Diary by Jimmy CarterWhite House Diary~ Jimmy Carter



Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments http://www.biblio.com/unbound/2008/11...

Here is the link that Madrano/deborah provided in her post that I copied and pasted in this thread.

The link is about presidential autobiographies.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments Now that we have this thread I need to go over my reading journal and see which presidential books I've read.


message 6: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 28, 2010 09:30AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments A list of the Presidents


18th Century

1. George Washington
2. John Adams

19th Century
3. Thomas Jefferson
4. James Madison
5. James Monroe
6. John Quincy Adams
7. Andrew Jackson
8. Martin Van Buren
9. William Henry Harrison
10. John Tyler
11. James K. Polk
12. Zachary Taylor
13. Millard Fillmore
14. Franklin Pierce
15. James Buchanan
16. Abraham Lincoln
17. Andrew Johnson
18. Ulysses S. Grant
19. Rutherford B. Hayes
20. James Garfield
21. Chester A. Arthur
22. Grover Cleveland
23. Benjamin Harrison
24. Grover Cleveland
25. William McKinley

20th Century

26. Theodore Roosevelt
27. William Howard Taft
28. Woodrow Wilson
29. Warren G. Harding
30. Calvin Coolidge
31. Herbert Hoover
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33. Harry S. Truman
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower
35. John F. Kennedy
36. Lyndon B. Johnson
37. Richard M. Nixon
38. Gerald R. Ford
39. James Carter
40. Ronald Reagan
41. George H. W. Bush
42. William J. Clinton

21st Century

43. George W. Bush
44. Barack Obama

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presi...


madrano | 781 comments Alias, thank you for the new thread & list of Presidents. I haven't read any bios of 20 or 21st century presidents. I started listening to Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris in Maryland. However, as i listened, i realized two things. First, it was the second volume, and secondly, i needed to take notes. But i never tried again.

And, as you may remember, Alias, we read President Obama's autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance together. This was before i realized he was entertaining thoughts of running for the presidency. In fact, i think that was the first time i knew who he was. Yes, i AM that out of it sometimes. :-)

ANYway, i thought i'd mention the bios i've read. Long ago i read Thomas Jefferson by Fawn M. Brodie. As a strict bio, it was lacking, imo. However, i felt it was instructive in learning about his adulthood and Sally Hemings. The most amazing thing to me was that her descendants grew up knowing they were from Jefferson's line, all news to me at the time. Biology has now proven them correct. Because i felt the biography lacked what i most wanted, material about his youth, i want to read another.

For Washington, i read Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner. This was a sort of abridgment of his 4-volume biography. I have mixed feelings in that i felt i could have used more info but at over 400 pages, i probably got all i needed. Or so i felt at the time. I have since come to believe that when i complete all the bios, i will probably return to another biography about our first President, as his depth is easy to ignore, imo.

I read John Adams by David McCullough when it was released and liked it very much. This is what i want in a biography. There were a couple of places where i felt he overindulged his fondness for his subject but as far as depicting the life itself, i appreciated the work.

That's it. Clearly, i have my work cut out for me next year.

deborah


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments Jimmy Carter discharged from Cleveland hospital
By the CNN Wire Staff
September 30, 2010 --

Cleveland, Ohio (CNN) -- Former President Jimmy Carter left a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday afternoon after spending two days recovering from a gastric viral infection.

He will resume his schedule with a meeting this week in Washington, a statement from the Carter Center and MetroHealth Medical Center said.

Carter thanked his medical team for "attentive and comprehensive care" and expressed appreciation to all those who wished him well.

Carter, who turns 86 on Friday, suffered stomach distress Tuesday during a flight to Cleveland, where he had planned to sign copies of his new book, "White House Diary."

He canceled that event as well as others scheduled in Washington after he was rushed to the hospital and doctors recommended that he remain under observation.

He and former first lady Rosalynn Carter are known as fitness buffs who maintain active lifestyles.

Carter recently returned from a trip to North Korea, where he secured the freedom of U.S. citizen Mahli Gomes.

During a September 20 appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live," Carter said he planned to stay busy.

"I'll stay involved in the Carter Center as long as I'm physically and mentally able," he said. "I'm still a professor at Emory University. This is my 29th year as a professor. And I'll still write a book every now and then."


http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/09/30/...


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments I thought I would mention this show in this thread.
C-SPAN Book TV

Nigel Hamilton,
American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

Biographer Nigel Hamilton profiles the twelve American presidents since World War II. Using the Roman historical text, The Twelve Caesars, as his model, the author recalls each president's path to the presidency, their domestic and foreign policy decisions while in office, and their leadership on the international stage. Nigel Hamilton discusses his book at Porter Square Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(Saturday 11 pm, Sunday 7 pm ET)


madrano | 781 comments The concepts authors come up with can sometimes amaze me. It must be like a bee in their bonnets until they publish. Interesting, isn't it?

deb


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments It's the birthday of Jimmy Carter, born in Plains, Georgia (1924), the first American president to be born in a hospital. He grew up in a house where everyone brought a book to the dinner table, and then the family sat there together at dinner eating and reading in silence. He started selling boiled peanuts from a red wagon by the side of the road when he was six, around the same age that he started winning all sorts of prizes for being the top reader in his rural grade school.

He played basketball in high school, joined the Future Farmers of America club, and went off to the United States Naval Academy, where he taught Sunday school to the officer's kids and graduated 59th in his class of 820. While in the Navy, he did graduate work in nuclear physics. Then, after his dad died, he left the Navy and took over the family peanut farming business. For a while, he was a wealthy peanut farmer.

He became governor of Georgia. But he wasn't very well known around the nation, and when he first threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic primaries of the 1976 presidential election, only 2 percent of Americans recognized his name. When he told his mom he was going to run for president, she replied, "President of what?"

He decided he would write a book to help the nation know who he was and where he was coming from and what he stood for — a candidate autobiography. He wrote it on the campaign trail, scribbling paragraphs on yellow notepads during airplane rides and in hotels. He took it to a bunch of small publishers in Georgia, but they all rejected the manuscript. Finally, he convinced a small press in Nashville that specialized in Southern Baptist books to publish his book. After he won the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, that book — Why Not the Best? (1975) — sold about a million copies. It has since been reissued.

Carter defeated Gerald Ford and took office during an energy crisis. He wore sweaters and told Americans to turn down the heat. In one of his last acts in office, he signed a House Bill bailing out a failing American car company, the Chrysler Corporation.

When he got back to Georgia, he found that his farm, which he placed in a blind trust upon election, was suddenly a million dollars in debt. He sold the farm and then, to make ends meet and save their home, he and Rosalynn each signed separate book contracts to write memoirs.

He sat down and wrote for eight to 10 hours a day, drawing on diaries he kept while in the Oval office, typewritten notes that amounted to 6,000 pages. When he could not stand sitting down at the typewriter anymore, he went to his woodworking shop and made furniture — things like tables and chairs and cabinets. He ended up with more than 30 pieces of furniture in the time in took him to write that first post-presidential book, which was published in 1982 as Keeping Faith.

He's now the author of about two dozen books, including An Hour Before Daylight: Memoirs of a Rural Boyhood (2001), Our Endangered Values (2005), Palestine Peace Not Apartheid (2006), A Remarkable Mother (2008), and Beyond the White House (2008).

He likes to fly-fish and ride his bicycle. He continues to teach Sunday school. He reads just about every new book written about the U.S. presidency. He adores poet Dylan Thomas and has read two dozen biographies about the man. He writes his own poetry now. In 2002, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

He said: "A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity."

The Writer's Almanac is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.



Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Alias Reader wrote: "It's the birthday of Jimmy Carter,  born in Plains, Georgia (1924), the first American president to be born in a hospital. He grew up in a house where everyone brought a book to the dinner table, a..."

I visited Plains on a class field trip before when he was campaigning for President but I can't even remember what grade I was in, I just remember it happened and we ate some peanuts (regular and boiled, boiled being a Georgia staple). Some things I know about him that most don't - He was such a down to earth guy he had the Allman Brothers at a gathering the night of his inauguration. And it was rumored he tried to get Lynyrd Skynyrd too but they didn't make the gig. Also he advocated legalizing marijuana and was rumored to being hanging out with Willie Nelson on that hazy night up on the White House roof. And lastly it was rumored that he had a leafy substance growing on parts of his peanut farm. 

Okay, that's a lot of rumors. But the Allman Brothers at the inauguration and the advocating legalizing marijuana are facts.

EDIT- He was elected in 1976 so I was in 4th or 5th grade. Not a really important fact but I all of sudden just remembered I know how to do basic math.


madrano | 781 comments Not really part of the Presidential conversation, per se, but boiled peanuts are awful. We bought a bag while in one of the Carolinas & thought we'd gag getting through the small bag. Why keep eating? We were just SURE that they'd grow on us, or how could they be so popular? The joke was on us. And the smell lingered in the car for a couple of days. Gag reflex!

deb


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments madrano wrote: "Not really part of the Presidential conversation, per se, but boiled peanuts are awful. We bought a bag while in one of the Carolinas & thought we'd gag getting through the small bag. Why keep eati..."

I love peanuts. Boiled or not. Once a month I buy a moderate quantity of them and boil half. I salt the water and it soaks in, even sucking on the shells is delicious.


Donna in Southern Maryland (Cedarville922) | 212 comments madrano wrote: "Not really part of the Presidential conversation, per se, but boiled peanuts are awful. We bought a bag while in one of the Carolinas & thought we'd gag getting through the small bag. Why keep eati..."

Must have got a bad batch maybe, or maybe they weren't salted properly.....because, surely, my friend, if they were properly done you would have LOVED them, as much as I do!!! :o) I haven't had any in awhile. Maybe will have to boil some here. I have always loved stopping at those roadside stands and buying a bag. If DH is driving, I shell them and stuff the peanut in his mouth. :o)

Donna in Southern Maryland
PS. Mike, I've heard the same thing about Jimmy Carter and The Allman Brothers, and the smokey haze on the roof. There is also a story about David Crosby being at the White House and sneaking in a joint.

There was a small story in the Wash. Post today about a 60 yr old CBS radio reporter who lives in DC being arrested for having 11 plants growing in his yard. Whoops.


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "There is also a story about David Crosby being at the White House and sneaking in a joint.

There was a small story in the Wash. Post today about a 60 yr old CBS radio reporter who lives in DC being arrested for having 11 plants growing in his yard. Whoops."


I hadn't heard about Crosby or the news today about the radio reporter, he'll probably get fired and then maybe hired by Air America Radio if they are still on the air or some such station. Sometimes stuff like that ends up helping radio personalities or other similar types, it creates controversy and makes them more well known.

After I posted that all that about President Carter I thought to google the info. The Allman Brothers were verified by trustworthy sources but I already knew that was true. Willie on the roof, but not Carter was verified but by second hard trustworthy sources. The leafy substance in the peanut farm was non-existent. Carter advocating the "decriminalization" of marijuana was verified.

And about boiled peanuts, it's one of the few things I can cook and prepare well. That and a bowl of cereal. I'm not a good cook is what I'm trying to say.

Growing up in Georgia an elderly man who was my good friend told me the idea to boil peanuts came about out of the need for dentally challenged hillbilly's to be able to eat peanuts without turning them all the way into peanut butter.


madrano | 781 comments Mike wrote: "Growing up in Georgia an elderly man who was my good friend told me the idea to boil peanuts came about out of the need for dentally challenged hillbilly's to be able to eat peanuts without turning them all the way into peanut butter. ..."

LOL! That explains them! DH & i puzzled over WHY anyone thought to do that in the first place. Donna noted that i may have gotten hold of a bad batch. This may be true, however, i doubt we'll get up the stamina to give it another try. At least not without a free sample first!

deb


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Not a book exactly but a nice 'lil "Presidential Portraits" read-through of all 45 of America's bosses thus far - via The Chicago Tribune...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/po...

Also has a nifty quiz linked at the bottom. I did poorly ( -¿- )


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments I've bookmarked the President page to read tomorrow.

I'm still working on my computer issues. It took all day, but I think I fixed the Internet security program.

Now AOL is telling me to update/download some spyware program of theirs. I am almost afraid to click on it. I don't know if will interfere with the other security program I have. :-O If the spyware doesn't get me, the stress will !!!!


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments I guess I need to work on my Presidential trivia.
I got 40%

:(


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Alias Reader wrote: "I guess I need to work on my Presidential trivia.
I got 40% "


I got 40% too and I guessed at least two that I got right. Oh well, every question was about way way back.

Alias Reader wrote: "Now AOL is telling me to update/download some spyware program of theirs. I am almost afraid to click on it. I don't know if will interfere with the other security program I have. :-O If the spyware doesn't get me, the stress will !!!!"

Man, I'm not trying to Mr. Computer Know it All. And I'm not trying to sound like y'all (I've seen others have had problems recently too) don't know what your doing either but you don't need a single thing from AOHell, especially not anything to do with security. There are a lot of different views out there about this but I'm gonna post my computer experiences since I started 'puting back in the year of '03. I am no computer wiz but my son is, I mean a true wizard with computers.

And I just thought to post it in a new or renamed WeBooks topic.

So off I go on that, I'll have it up by tomorrow afternoon.


madrano | 781 comments I did a bit better at 60%. However, let's be fair to ourselves--most of those facts were more trivia than the sort of history most of us want from biographies. Or maybe not, maybe i'm the only one who wants to learn more about their policies as well of their personal lives. Gotta get DH to try it...will post his results later.

deborah


madrano | 781 comments Ok, DH got 80% correct. I knew he'd do well, the Show Off! LOL!

deborah


message 24: by Alias Reader (last edited Oct 05, 2010 09:16AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments 80% ! --- That is impressive !

You need to get that cutie on Jeopardy.


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments response to Debbie

Oh yeah I agree, most of that quiz was pure trivia.

The "who was only one to hold a patent" interested me. It was Lincoln. I got the answer wrong. So I googled up what it was all about...

"On May 22, 1849, Abraham Lincoln received Patent No. 6469 for a device to lift boats over shoals, an invention which was never manufactured. However, it did make him the only U.S. president to hold a patent."

The page I captured that text from is here...
http://showcase.netins.net/web/creati...
...it has a picture of his invention at the smithsonian and a thorough article about it.


madrano | 781 comments Thanks for doing that "leg work", Mike.

deb


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments It's the birthday of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, born in Denison, Texas, in 1890. His mother was a pacifist, and when he decided to go to West Point for college, she broke down in tears. He loved being in the military and training troops. As a general, he liked to smoke cigarettes and make small talk with soldiers, and he slept in the trenches with the privates. When he traveled by jeep near enemy lines, he preferred to drive the jeep himself.

The Writer's Almanac is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.


Does anyone have any good books on Eisenhower that they would recommend?


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments I thought of this topic (even though it's fiction) when I saw this book and think it's a TBR for me-
Eighteen Acres by Nicolle Wallace. It's about America finally electing a female President. Here's the Amazon page of it... http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/ref=...


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments RE: Eighteen Acres.

The author has been making the rounds on TV. The book sounds interesting. I believe she loosely based one of the characters on Palin and the author's experience working on the McCain campaign.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments PART 1

For Obama and past presidents, the books they read shape policies and perceptions

By Tevi Troy

Sunday, April 18, 2010; B01

As the battle over health-care reform crescendoed last month, President Obama let slip that he was still making time for some side reading. "We've been talking about health care for nearly a century," the president told a crowd at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. "I'm reading a biography of Teddy Roosevelt right now. He was talking about it."

One of the reasons the country's intellectual class has taken so gleefully to Obama is precisely that, in addition to writing bestsellers, the man is clearly a dedicated reader. During his presidential campaign, he was photographed toting around Fareed Zakaria's "The Post-American World," the it-book of the foreign policy establishment at the time. A year ago, in an interview about economic policy, he told a reporter that he was reading Joseph O'Neill's post-Sept. 11 novel "Netherland," which had recently won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award.

In a historical sense, Obama follows a long line of ardent presidential readers, paging all the way back to the founders. John Adams's library had more than 3,000 volumes -- including Cicero, Plutarch and Thucydides -- heavily inscribed with the president's marginalia. Thomas Jefferson's massive book collection launched him into debt and later became the backbone for the Library of Congress. "I cannot live without books," he confessed to Adams. And it's likely that no president will ever match the Rough Rider himself, who charged through multiple books in a single day and wrote more than a dozen well-regarded works, on topics ranging from the War of 1812 to the American West.

Obama's mention of the Roosevelt biography -- it turned out to be Edmund Morris's "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" -- may have been a calculated move to convey Teddy-esque toughness and a reform-minded spirit, but it also made clear an interesting notion: Reading lists don't only give presidents a break from the tedium of briefing documents; they can also inform their politics and policies, reaffirming, creating or shifting their views. White House watchers obsess over which aides have the ear of the president, but the books presidents read also offer insight on where they want to take the country -- and how history will remember them.

Consider Harry Truman. He was the last American president not to have completed college, but he was a voracious reader and particularly interested in history and biography, once musing that "the only thing new in this world is the history that you don't know."

Truman's support for establishing the country of Israel -- over the objections of his own State Department -- has been credited to his boyhood reading, both of the Bible (which he read at least a dozen times) and of the multivolume history "Great Men and Famous Women," edited by Charles F. Horne. The collection featured Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who let the Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. Shortly after leaving the White House, Truman was introduced to a group of Jewish leaders as having "helped create" the state of Israel. "What do you mean 'helped create?' " Truman bristled. "I am Cyrus."

Books played an especially significant role in the John F. Kennedy White House. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Profiles in Courage" -- possibly ghostwritten by speechwriter Ted Sorensen -- had helped cement his reputation as a big thinker, and the White House's resident intellectual, Arthur Schlesinger, not only recommended books to Kennedy but also penned "A Thousand Days," which posthumously glorified the Camelot era.

But it was a book review, rather than a book itself, that helped launch one of the major policy initiatives of the 1960s. Walter Heller, chairman of Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisers, gave his boss Dwight MacDonald's influential 13,000-word New Yorker essay on Michael Harrington's "The Other America," which chronicled poverty in the nation. Inspired by the piece (and feeling vulnerable on the left after pushing for an across-the-board tax cut), Kennedy asked his staff to look into the problem. They came up with a plan for an "attack on poverty," which Heller discussed with the president a few days before Kennedy's fateful trip to Dallas in November 1963.

His successor, Lyndon Johnson -- who was influenced by British economist Barbara Ward's "The Rich Nations and the Poor Nations," which he said he read multiple times -- turned the attack into a War on Poverty. Future editions of Harrington's book had "the book that sparked the War on Poverty" on the cover, but the New Yorker deserves at least some of the credit.

Richard Nixon -- who in his memoirs noted that he read Tolstoy extensively in his youth, even calling himself a "Tolstoyan" -- often sought out books with links to the big issues of the day. After a summit with the Soviets, for instance, he bought a copy of Winston Churchill's "Triumph and Tragedy" so he could reread Churchill's recollections of the Yalta conference. And leading into his second term, Nixon was reading Robert Blake's biography of British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli and was struck by Disraeli's description of William Gladstone's cabinet as "exhausted volcanoes." The phrase inspired him to call for the resignation of his own White House staff and Cabinet, a move he later described as a mistake.

In his farewell speech to his staff on Aug. 9, 1974, Nixon offered a self-deprecating line: "I am not educated, but I do read books."

Presidential reading backfired on Jimmy Carter as well. In the summer of 1979, with the economy struggling and the presidency shaken by the Iran hostage crisis, Carter delivered his infamous speech proclaiming a "crisis of confidence" in America. It became known as the "malaise" speech and is widely regarded as a major political mistake. The address, written mainly by adviser Pat Caddell, was inspired by Christopher Lasch's best-selling book "The Culture of Narcissism." Lasch had come to the White House for a dinner about six weeks before the address, and his ideas apparently stayed behind. Two days after the July 15 speech, Carter fired several Cabinet members, adding to the sense of drift that seemed to define the era. (In 1993, during the fourth season of "The Simpsons," Springfield unveiled a Carter statue; the inscription at the base read "Malaise Forever.")

It is unclear whether Carter read Lasch's book, but he was a prolific reader. In February 1977, he took a speed-reading class with his 9-year-old daughter, Amy. This skill helped him read a reported two books a week as president and three to four books weekly in his post-presidency. He has also written 24 books, a record for former presidents.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments PART 2

For Obama and past presidents, the books they read shape policies and perceptions

By Tevi Troy

Despite having been dubbed an "amiable dunce" by longtime White House adviser Clark Clifford, Ronald Reagan loved books, including (there we go again) Morris's works on Theodore Roosevelt. So much so, in fact, that Reagan selected Morris as his official biographer, resulting in Reagan's odd, semi-fictional portrayal in "Dutch," published in 1999. Reagan was the first president to consciously highlight the works of conservative intellectuals, citing Milton Friedman's "Free To Choose" and George Gilder's "Wealth and Poverty" to advance his economic policy agenda. The New Yorker's Larissa MacFarquhar has written that Gilder's book was one of Reagan's favorites and that Gilder was "the living author Reagan most often quoted."

Bill Clinton read widely and often -- his favorite authors included Maya Angelou, Ralph Ellison and Taylor Branch -- and was well aware that presidential reading merited attention in the media and in intellectual circles. As a result, he took steps to flatter intellectuals by touting their books. Clinton once placed Yale law professor Stephen Carter's "The Culture of Disbelief" on his Oval Office desk so that reporters would see what he was reading, and they dutifully reported it. Carter was one of a select few who recommended books to Clinton, as did Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Vice President Al Gore and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. Clinton also devoured mysteries, calling them a "little cheap-thrills outlet."

Clinton's reading affected his approach in the early 1990s to the crisis in the Balkans, a fierce and bloody struggle for control of Bosnian territory that had once been part of Yugoslavia. At the time, the president read Robert Kaplan's "Balkan Ghosts" and was struck by Kaplan's description of the region's long-standing ethnic hatreds. The book apparently set him against intervening in Bosnia. A panicky defense secretary, Les Aspin, told national security adviser Anthony Lake that Clinton was "not on board" with their proposals. Years later, journalist Laura Rozen wrote that "some can't hear the name Robert Kaplan without blaming him for the delay in U.S. intervention."

George W. Bush, though perhaps only the second-most-avid reader in his home behind librarian Laura Bush, was a dedicated reader who liked to count the titles he conquered. During his second term, an offhand comment by adviser Karl Rove led to annual competitions to see which of the two would tally the most books. And even though the books Bush and Rove consumed were usually quite meaty -- mainly histories ("A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900"), cultural works ("Nine Parts of Desire") and biographies (the titanic "Mao") -- when the competition became public, derision followed.

"The caricature of Bush as unread died today -- or was it yesterday? But the reality of the intellectually insulated man endures," wrote Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. And the revelation that Bush had read Albert Camus's "The Stranger" elicited howls from the news media. "George Bush reading a French Existentialist is like Obama reading a Cabela's catalog," sniffed Slate's John Dickerson.

Bush was well aware of this contempt, once telling a White House colleague of mine that he was enjoying Juan Williams's book "Enough," on the plight of black America, but preferred to keep it quiet so as to not spoil the book's potential impact on policy debates.

Sneers aside, Bush's reading certainly informed his worldview and policies. New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani observed that Bush "favored prescriptive books" such as Natan Sharansky's "The Case for Democracy" and Eliot A. Cohen's "Supreme Command," which argued that politicians should drive military strategy. Bush often met with the authors of books that resonated with him. Shortly after his reelection, he had Sharansky in for an hour-long Oval Office meeting to discuss democracy and ways to advance it around the world. Inspired in part by the author, the president went on to outline a global freedom agenda in his second inaugural address. "Not only did he read it, he felt it," Sharansky told The Post.

And then came Obama. As a writer, his autobiography helped launch him from relative obscurity to national prominence. As a reader, he made Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals," about Lincoln's Cabinet, into a media-friendly metaphor for his transition to the White House, especially when he selected Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.

Early on, Obama also cultivated the analogy to Franklin Roosevelt's first 100 days -- a period regarded as the quintessential government mobilization in the face of an economic crisis. In his first post-election interview, on "60 Minutes," Obama noted that he had read "a new book out about FDR's first 100 days." (A spokesman later clarified that the president-elect was referring to two books: Jonathan Alter's "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope," and "FDR" by Jean Edward Smith.) The move worked: Media comparisons to Roosevelt's first 100 days proliferated.

Obama, like Kennedy and Clinton before him, seems keenly aware of the power of books to shape public perceptions. The world may not be reading, but it is watching -- if a book can send a signal you want to convey, toting it as you walk to Marine One or casually mentioning it in an interview can be more effective than delivering yet another policy speech.

Other heads of state have also recognized the power of a book in the American president's hands. At a summit of Western Hemisphere nations a year ago, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela ambushed Obama with a copy of "The Open Veins of Latin America" by Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, a left-wing tract decrying centuries of European and American exploitation and political domination of the region. Obama still held out hope that his own writing could turn the guy around. "I thought it was one of Chávez's books," the president later quipped. "I was going to give him one of mine."

And if another presidential book exchange can't be arranged, "Los sueños de mi padre" is available on Amazon for $11.56.

ttroy@hudson.org

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...


message 32: by Alias Reader (last edited Oct 22, 2010 07:40AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments --GR Links for books mentioned in the above article--


The Post-American World by Fareed ZakariaThe Post-American World~ Fareed Zakaria

Netherland by Joseph O'NeillNetherland~ Joseph O'Neill

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt~~Edmund Morris

Great Men and Famous Women, Volume II (Illustrated Edition) (Dodo Press) by Charles F. HorneGreat Men and Famous Women, Volume II (Illustrated Edition)~ Charles F. Horne

A Thousand Days  John F. Kennedy in the White House by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House~ Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Profiles in Courage by John Fitzgerald KennedyProfiles in Courage~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Rich Nations and Poor Nations by Barbara WardRich Nations and Poor Nations~~Barbara Ward

Triumph and Tragedy (Second World War) by Winston S. ChurchillTriumph and Tragedy~ Winston S. Churchill

no cover Disraeli~ Robert Blake


The Culture of Narcissism  American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher LaschThe Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations~ Christopher Lasch

Free to Choose  A Personal Statement by Milton FriedmanFree to Choose: A Personal Statement~ Milton Friedman

Wealth and Poverty by George GilderWealth and Poverty~ George Gilder

The Culture of Disbelief by Stephen L. CarterThe Culture of Disbelief~ Stephen L. Carter

Balkan Ghosts  A Journey Through History by Robert D. KaplanBalkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History~ Robert D. Kaplan

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 by Andrew RobertsA History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900~ Andrew Roberts

Nine Parts of Desire  The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine BrooksNine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women~ Geraldine Brooks

The Stranger by Albert CamusThe Stranger~ Albert Camus

Enough  The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It by Juan Williams Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It~ Juan Williams

The Case for Democracy  The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror by Natan SharanskyThe Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror~ Natan Sharansky

Supreme Command  Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime by Eliot A. CohenSupreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime~ Eliot A. Cohen

Team of Rivals  The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns GoodwinTeam of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln~ Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Defining Moment  FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan AlterThe Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope~~Jonathan Alter FDR by Jean Edward SmithFDR~~Jean Edward Smith

Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Hughes GaleanoOpen Veins of Latin America~ Eduardo Hughes Galeano


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments Chernow biography reframes Washington in 'A Life'

By Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY

Had Ron Chernow not chosen to write biographies, he would have made a spectacular shrink. The man has a bone-deep understanding of what motivates human beings.

He's chosen to analyze historical figures in award-winning biographies of Alexander Hamilton and John D. Rockefeller Sr.

Now he's put big daddy on the couch —George Washington. The result is so good in explaining the American Revolution, the founding of this country and the complicated man who served as its first president that it could serve as a textbook for high school students.

In fact, even history buffs who have put a dent in the mountain of books about the Founding Fathers should consider this one because of the quality of the writing and psychological insights.

Seven years in the making, Washington brims with beautifully crafted sentences that chip away at Washington's impassive facade. Though his early biographies added to it, Washington himself crafted this persona in youth to hide his unusually passionate and turbulent nature. Though outwardly methodical, disciplined and taciturn, inside he was feverishly ambitious, prone to anger and ravenous for status, according to Chernow.

Why? One reason: his emotionally withholding mother. (Washington's father died when he was 11.) No military victory, no national acclaim, no financial support merited her praise. Chernow acknowledges that as a widow with a large family living on an isolated plantation, Mary Washington had a reason for wanting to keep George on the farm.

History also might have turned out differently had the British army made a place in its ranks for the ambitious Washington who served in the French and Indian War, instead of discriminating against him as a colonial.

These slights would feed a simmering rage in the future revolutionary, as did the London merchants who overcharged him for the lavish luxury goods he ordered. Readers will be surprised to discover Washington was the original debt-ridden American consumer.

Step by step, Chernow chronicles how Washington rose in the world. There was his friendship with the fabulously rich Fairfax family in Virginia. And the more than friendship but probably unconsummated love affair with Sally Fairfax, the wife of his mentor. After Washington's advantageous and loving marriage to the wealthy Martha, the two women became close friends, but at the end of his life, Washington wrote Sally that nothing in his life compared to the happiness of those youthful hours with her.

This bio also makes it clear that physical appearance was just as important in 1776 as it is today. Washington's immaculate 6-foot presence inspired men and dazzled women. His wide hips and muscular thighs made him the ultimate man on horseback in a world of riders.

Chernow covers Washington's extraordinary saga — the Revolution, the presidency, the reluctant celebrity of Mount Vernon. Chernow pays particular attention to Washington, the demanding slave owner who led the most integrated army until the Vietnam War. Unlike any of the other Founding Fathers, Washington freed his slaves and in his will provided education and training for younger ones and assistance for older ones.

Here, Washington displayed the qualities that Chernow believes made him the one giant among the Founding Fathers. He acted with force and pragmatism, which meant defying convention.

The reader finishes this biography dazzled by Washington, grateful to Chernow, and eager for a miniseries on the order of HBO's John Adams.

http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/re...

Washington  A Life by Ron ChernowWashington: A Life~~Ron Chernow


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments 10/30

It's the birthday of the second president of the United States, John Adams, born in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1735. He represented Massachusetts at the Continental Congress. He served on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, and even though Thomas Jefferson wrote most of it, John Adams edited it, and he defended it to the rest of the Congress and helped get it passed. Adams was vice president for George Washington, but he didn't like it much. In 1796, he was elected the second president of the United States. But his party, the Federalist Party, ended up divided, and the next time around he lost to Jefferson.

John Adams said, "Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide."

The Writer's Almanac is produced by Prairie Home Productions and presented by American Public Media.


John Adams by David McCulloughJohn Adams~~David McCullough


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments Last night on NPR I heard this author discuss her new book. I've put it on my TBR list.

Churchill Defiant  Fighting On  1945-1955 by Barbara LeamingChurchill Defiant~~~Barbara Leaming


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments W's new book Decision Points comes out on the 9th...
http://www.amazon.com/Decision-Points...
I keeping with his backwards essence the paperback costs quite a bit more than the hardback. 

He actually has his own author page on Amazon too...
http://www.amazon.com/George-W.-Bush/...
Not all of them are written by him and there's one I'm sure he's not pleased is there.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments I very much doubt I'll read Decision Points. I was surprised to hear something to the effect that he says in the book that the worst moment during his whole presidency was when that singer West said he hated black folks.

Maybe the news reports are taking it out of context. I hope so.

Do you plan to read it, Mike?

How do you know the price of the PB. Won't that take about a year to come out?


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Do you plan to read it, Mike?"

Maybe. I'd like to see what he believes. Thing is I don't think he really understands how the decisions he choose to make affected so many others. I think he lives in a bubble and has no idea what is outside of that bubble. My opinions are not always facts so I'm just stating my opinion.

Alias Reader wrote: "How do you know the price of the PB. Won't that take about a year to come out?"

Nope, they have the paperback priced on the Amazon entry and available for pre-order... http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307... ...I just noticed the PB is large print so that's why I guess.

Are you gonna read it you think?


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments I just looked again it's $19 for the HB and $24 for the PB rounded off.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments I was just talking to someone today about a book. She was complaining about the price of of pb being $27. Then she told me it was large print. So that accounts for the higher price.

No, I don't think I'll read it. It's way too soon to relive that nightmare all over again.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments I posted this in the C-Span Book TV thread, but I thought I would also X-Post it here.

This looks like it might be an interesting book. I hope I can catch it on TV this weekend.

Saturday 9 pm,
Sunday 9 pm & Midnight
Weekly interview of a nonfiction author by a guest host who shares an area of expertise or interest.
~~~~After Words: Nigel Hamilton

American Caesars, interviewed by historian Richard Norton Smith
Acclaimed biographer Nigel Hamilton profiles the 12 U.S. presidents elected since World War II. He details the personalities and motivations of the men, and the achievements and failures of their administrations. He examines the latter half of 20th century history and the first decade of the 21st with presidential historian Richard Norton Smith, who served as director of the presidential libraries of Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.

American Caesars by Nigel HamiltonAmerican Caesars~~Nigel Hamilton


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Just curious, anyone planning on reading The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by President Barack Obama?


Bobbie57 (bobbie572002) | 861 comments Mike -- already read the Obama book. Which is how I found out that he had once been my neighbor but I hadn't known it. He lived on a not great block in upper Manhattan when he started out. So if anyone thinks that he doesn't know how the average person lives -- that couldn't be more wrong.


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Ha, that's neat Barbara. What did you think of the book just for the sake of it as a autobiography?

I agree he's not in the bubble. Same with President Clinton. I passed through and visited Hope, AR real quick once. Believe me, Hope is outside the bubble. He grew up in a similar environment in the, umm, "immoral minority" :-). No matter how anyone feels about these two Presidents I think they would have to admit that to end up where they did from where they started is most remarkable.


message 45: by Alias Reader (last edited Nov 06, 2010 08:31AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments Mike wrote: "Just curious, anyone planning on reading The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by President Barack Obama?"

---------------

Mike, we read it as a group read a few years ago. I enjoyed it. I wouldn't really describe it as an autobiography in the strictest sense. The story is told though the lens of his father's influence on him. So it doesn't discuss a lot other big influences in his life. It's been described as more lyrical in tone than a straight bio. The period that is mostly discussed is his early years. Mainly as a community organizer. Though there is some of his early childhood. The book I think ends with him as senator or just before. I forget.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8163 comments Mike wrote: Presidents I think they would have to admit that to end up where they did from where they started is most remarkable. "
---------

Yes, both of their stories are inspiring. That is one reason I like to read presidential bios.

As they say, these Horatio Alger type stories could only happen in the U.S.


Bobbie57 (bobbie572002) | 861 comments Mike, I enjoyed Obama's book. As Alias said -- it is not a traditional biography. I enjoyed the writing style. It was a good read.


Mike (mikesgoodreads) | 294 comments Thanks you two. I think my March read challenge for next year will include this and a Vook I've had my eye on that's a biography of Richard Nixon.


Susan (Nutz4Books) | 236 comments I enjoyed The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream when I read it, but I liked Dreams from My Father more because I wanted to know more about his life. I ordered Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life but it is on backorder. OK with me because I probably won't get to it quickly anyway. I also ordered Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela, but it is backordered too. That one doesn't fit into this U.S. Presidents thread, but looks like an interesting book.

I wasn't planning on reading the new W book, but now I'm curious so I may. I keep getting sidetracked from my planned reading!


Bobbie57 (bobbie572002) | 861 comments The Mandela book sounds interesting and from what I see I might get up to the W book.


« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
back to top