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Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,265 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
Your high school history teachers never gave you a book like this one! Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents features outrageous and uncensored profiles of the men in the White House - complete with hundreds of little-known, politically incorrect, and downright wacko facts.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Quirk Books (first published 2003)
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Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
In addition to reading the book about the First Families, I carried this book around with me while we were in Washington. It put me in an American History state of mind. This book has a chapter about each president. The author highlights the accomplishments and failures of each. Then he tells us some interesting, if not humorous, things about them. Like, did you know that President Ford locked himself out of the White House while walking his dog? Or, did you know that LBJ had a buzzer system ins ...more
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
When I was a kid, I had this great book called Facts and Fun About the Presidents. I loved reading about the weird quirks of our nation's leaders, and it was fun to impress my friends by telling them that James Madison was our shortest president (at 5'4" -- my current height) or that John Quincy Adams enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Potomac River.

Well, Cormac O'Brien's book is like a PG-13 version of the same.

His writing is entertaining, but not nearly as fun as the facts he writes about. Once aga
Ray Campbell
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016
This is a quick, lighthearted collection of profiles of each president. O'Brien includes the basics on each as well an overview of each administration, accomplishments and major issues of the day. Of course he also adds "fun facts" as advertised. Though not laugh out-loud funny, many details are ironical and amusing.

In my studies I've found it helpful to have a framework to connect details. In U.S. History, it is easy enough to break everything into chunks according to who was president. If you
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable book to read. It was simple, informative, and filled with little insights and humor of the past US Presidents.

Here are some things that caught my intrigue:
- FDR had good family; we all know about Teddy Roosevelt, but could also count George Washington, John Adams, Ulysses S. Grant, and Winston Churchill.
- LBJ: Didn't know how much of a** he was.
- John Kennedy: His dad was Ambassador to England during WWII and insisted that England, was going to lose (oops). JFK also wrote book, "Why En
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: u-s-history
Very minimal but interesting. A good supplement to individual biographies.
Amy Jones
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love strange facts and trivia, and this book offers me plenty of those. I've read it a couple times and just decided to read it again.
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
What a weak book. Very disappointing - a little research, some writing, there you are. Wikipedia research would do just fine.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: voters, historians, U.S. Presidents
Shelves: history
As we come up to another Presidential election, we're being asked to make a very important choice. We're electing someone to join a very powerful and elite group of men who have shaped the history of the world in the last 200-odd years. It's an important decision, to be sure, and not one to be taken lightly. Will our next President be a political powerhouse, a man who is able to take the reins of the country and lead it into a better and more just future? Will he be inept or corrupt, allowing hi ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To become a U.S. president you need to be natural born Citizen of USA. There are of course many more requirements. "And until recently, having white skin and a penis were pretty important too." This book is fun and informative, even though it takes on playful way to talk about presidents of the USA. Author gives each president few pages and states the facts about their carrier, what they did right and where they felt, but also gives some personal, often fun facts of their lives.
Did you know f.e
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apart from the axe that Cormac O'Brien seems to need to grind with Jack Kennedy, I really liked this book. There were a couple of times that I wasn't sure if the facts were actually true (I was under the impression that the Taft-bathtub rumor had been debunked?), but overall I found it very entertaining, and in general O'Brien does a good job of indicating when the items in the book are hard to verify. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get a little more of the human side of our presi ...more
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This book may have been a bit boring, since I don't know a bunch of technical History terms, there was always SOMETHING about each president that was surprising and interesting. Now I can go tell all my friends and family crazy stuff about our presidents! Did you know George W. Bush once choked on a pretzel?
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun and interesting read with short data points on each president, enough to tickle your fancy. I could see this used in maybe middle grade classrooms as a way to briefly teach about American presidents, and then delve in from there.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hea ja informatiivne lugemine. Mõned veidi häirivad näpukad on sisse jäänud, kuid see kord see väga ei häirinudki.
Wendell H Howell
Dishonest Liberal

Opinions on Obama and Trump underpins everything else in the book. Overly simplified in fact and knowledge. Done with this "author".
Nikki C
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a concise peek into every presidential reign. From quirks to quotes, the reader seems to get an unbiased yet snarky windows through which to learn about the presidents.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty interesting book about the presidents.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book to load onto a portable device and read in short bursts.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a bunch of dicks!
Russell Howen
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most interesting, containing tidbits in the life of each president, plus additional material
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was kind of like one of those presidential trivia books that you read in elementary school, except this was aimed at an adult audience. Mind you, not that the subject matter is necessarily 'mature.' Adultery, corruption, and incompetence - it usually (and depressingly) seems like one or more affected the majority of our former commander-in-chiefs. A quick and easy read with occasionally unique trivia.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
A good quick read with facts all the way up to Trump
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book may help with some questions on Jeopardy. Learned a few things and reviewed a LOT of things. A few giggles here and there.
Here is the thing. I was really enjoying this book until we got to the modern presidents. That when all impartialness went out the door. The author was short of building a shrine to Obama. The chapter felt like a teenage crush writing down all the wonderful things she loves about the Quarterback in high school. Then we got to the Trump article. The author fell short of a calling him a sociopath. It was crazed writing of a whiny little snowflake who was mad that lying cheating Clinton didn't get ...more
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* Thomas Jefferson had a small genus of plants named after him (Jeffersonia diphylla, et. al.).
* James Madison was the nation's shortest president at 5'4".
* John Quincy Adams loved to skinny-dip in the Potomac River.
* Franklin Pierce is the only New Hampshire native to become president.
* Ulysses S. Grant - whose birth name was Hiram Ulysses Grant - was nauseated by the sight of blood.
* Rutherford B. Haye's wife, Lucy, had a pet Siamese cat, reportedly the first in the country.
* Theodore Roosevel
Nostalgia Reader
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: buzz-complete
As I always enjoy info-snippet books like this, I went ahead and power-read through it (because it's like a box of chocolates... they're nice, bite-sized pieces that you swear you'll savor, but end up eating half the box in a day).

The info was presented in a simple way--a good introduction to the President that summarized events that went on during their term, followed by the paragraph length quirky facts.

Many of the facts I already knew from other various sources (Don't Know Much About the Pres
Sep 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
This book is actually more deserving of 3 1/2 stars, but alas.

It would be interesting to read an updated version of this book in a few years (it only goes through George W. Bush's first term). Overall, I was left with the impression that it's a miracle that the United States has managed to survive (and be a "super power"!) as long as it has. ;)

But on further reflection, it strikes me that this book would be a good read for everyone, given the political climate these days. None of these men wer
Kevin Hollins
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun and easy read that can be read in any particular order.
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
My original intention was to treat this book like a daily reader; taking in one Chief Executive each evening for forty-some-odd crazy nights of presidential facts and fun. Additionally, my plan was to make the effort to remember all of the names of the amazing to the mediocre to the downright useless men that have held the office. I fell short of one aspiration and exceeded the other.

Could I tell you all the presidents in order?
Not even close.

Did I read this book one day at a time?
Nope. I actual
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: factoid lovers
I'm giving this book four stars only because of the entertainment factor. I am not a presidential factoid whiz, so many of the little stories and facts O'Brien presented were new to me. I was transported back to my high school advanced history class, where my teacher knew the secret to getting her students interested was to entertain, bedazzle, and make us laugh.

The facts are interesting, although not always insightful or "fun". The writing is alright, and O'Brien throws in puns, sexual humor, a
Barbara M
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this book 4 stars because it is entertaining! It's a book about little known facts about the Presidents. What I personally loved is that it helped me outsmart my husband. He is a history buff and I can never outsmart him re: history. After reading this book, I asked him "what president claimed to have seen a UFO?". What president farted all the time? I knew the answers and he didn't. I quizzed him on a few other little known facts and it was the first time I knew something about the p ...more
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