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Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty
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Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Profiling each president on the merits of their policies and on the core principles of peace, prosperity, and liberty, this ranking system takes a distinctly new approach. Historians and scholars have long tended to respect the war heroes and men who have succeeded in expanding the power of the executive office. However, this new examination cuts through longstanding bias ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published January 9th 2009 by Independent Institute (first published January 1st 2009)
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3.88  · 
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 ·  85 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Scarlett Sims
May 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book because it was referenced in Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto.

What this book does is rank the presidents on, as the title would indicate, peace, prosperity, and liberty. The introduction describes exactly what criteria go into these rankings and also how they differ from the criteria used by other analysts' rankings.

This book isn't really partisan--if anything it's Libertarian but not even that. It simply takes a different look at the actions of presidents with some
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
The author was too ambitious in writing this book. A proper attempt at any form of objectivity in ranking individuals needs to stem from discussion by a group of diverse people, not just one man who's only claim to objectivitity is a lack of political identification with the two main parties discussed.
In the end his biases show, and a naïve but intelligent reader would have a hard time developing reasonable judgements of their own on past presidents.

That being said, it is always good to read oth
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Presidential rankings tend to favor those who were most active, reigning during a crisis or creating expansive new programs that alter the nation’s fortunes. What of the peaceful administrators, however, those men who fulfilled their oaths expertly and restrained themselves from intervening unnecessarily in the lives of the people, or in the affairs of other countries? Recarving Rushmore ranks the presidents based on their performance in peace, prosperity, and liberty, and the results challenge ...more
Kathryn Muratore
This is a great American history book. Each president chapter could be read in isolation, or you can read it front-to-back like I did. The author reiterates - without boring you or wasting words - what the significance of presidential policies were when they carry through multiple administrations. There are many events in American history that will either be new to you or have you thinking more deeply about them. If every American read this book, we would have a better-informed populace with a h ...more
Dec 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
HA HA HA HA. This book was FUN-nee. I almost wet myself laughing.

Let me see if I got this right..... Mister Libertarian writer from some tax dodge called the Independent Institute says that Jimmy Carter is the 8th best president based on policies that led to peace and prosperity. James Earl Jr. is nudged in there right between a guy named Washington (No. 7) and a guy named Eisenhower (No. 9). I can't stop laughing.

And who makes the bad list? Reagan, FDR, and Lincoln.

I have a bit of a Libertarian
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Eye-opening evaluation of 40 presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. William Henry Harrison and John Garfield are omitted as their terms were so short. Popular and scholarly opinion of who the best and worst presidents were is turned upside down by the author, who bases his rankings on how well each man upheld the principles of peace, prosperity and liberty. Indeed, Dr. Eland makes an excellent case for 'recarving Rushmore'.
Trey Sanford
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Though I don't completely agree with the Author's criteria for a great presidency, I think that this book offers an interesting perspective. It is quite a bit editorialized, but each write up-contains interesting and concise facts about American history.
Shannon Hunsel
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I really like the idea of this book, and it does contain some interesting points of view and tidbits. I also really like that the author factored a president's treatment of Native Americans into his ranking, which other ranking schemes seem to ignore.

But onto the stuff I didn't like. In discussing how a president has taken actions to infringe on personal liberties or that will lead to a disruption in peace or prosperity, the author gives his own opinion on what the president should have done, b
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-list
Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty by Ivan Eland is the type of book I want to see. A look at the previous presidents that doesn’t pull punches and actually examines the president not by “what was done” but rather “what could have been done.”

Mr. Eland starts by making some ground breaking statements, claiming that historians judge presidents incorrectly, they tend to focus on activism from presidents and reward wartime presidents, ignoring the fact that
Al Lock
Jul 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author claims that he will rate Presidents on a more objective scale then typically used and then proceed to demonstrate that objectivity is not really in consideration here. He excuses one President from being responsible for Congressional acts and vilifies another. He makes claims about the Constitution that are not supported by that document as well as claims about the founder's intent that are not supported by the evidence they left. He seems to be using a single source for many of his p ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book consists of short histories of each president up to George W Bush. The chapters are really too short and do not contain enough information to come to the conclusions of the author. He also repeats much information from previous to subsequent chapters almost as if he copied and pasted passages.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My new favorite book.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best history book I have read. You will learn a lot about wars and conflicts in the 1800s that you probably never knew about.
Mark Tereshenkov
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not an American but I'm interested in the USA history, moreover I'm libertarian so I decided to read this book. Now I recommend it to everyone who wants to learn the history of the United States. Ivan Eland showed that very popular political leaders often don't deserve it, they are often turned out to pursue bad or even disastrous (like Wilson) policy. The author is well-educated, economically literate that helps him to analise actions of all the presidents and find all the consequenses, eve ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book. For those scoffers who can't begin to understand how a president like Jimmy Carter got a high rating by Eland, as opposed to say, Ronald Reagan, FDR, Woodrow Wilson,George W., etc., it's important to remember; Eland is not rating presidents like most modern historians have. (major war, most legislation passed, greatest social impact = great president). Instead he is rating them like a Libertarian would. In other words, how well did they do their job as described in the U.S. Constitut ...more
May 04, 2009 added it
A revisionist list of the past 43 presidents with rankings that change the perspective of what makes a sucessful president. Interesting and full of details told from the idea that radically changing policies, tax codes, and startings wars are not necessisarily "great" things to do. Puts the executive branch in perspective by comparing how much out of bounds the historical favorites stepped. The book celebrates all those "whatshisface" presidents like Cleveland and Tyler.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book is clearly the definitive base to a Libertarian foreign policy. Eland makes a strong case for non-interventionism. While, like most Libertarian raters, he is pretty critical of modern Presidents, unlike others, he accepts the inherent challenges of the Executive office. And I think he understands that building a new Mt. Rushmore would be a horrendous waste of taxpayer money and thus unrealistic. All US history teachers should read this book.
Clarence Goodman
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting, but the author must have been a real buzzkill as a kid.
Brendan Cole
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very good look at the presidents in terms of how they followed the constitution. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a constitutional look at the presidents.
John DeGratto
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