David Hill's Reviews > Chester Alan Arthur

Chester Alan Arthur by Zachary Karabell
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bookshelves: biography-president

This is, by far, the shortest of the whole life biographies of US presidents I've read to date. It's one of the American Presidents series. Books in the series tend to be short, given the aim of the series to "present the grand panorama of our chief executives in volumes compact enough for the busy reader". Given the general view of Arthur's presidency I felt he was the best president to read from this series. A lightweight book for a lightweight president? Perhaps.

Most of the presidential biographies I've read begin a generation or more before their subject's birth. This one doesn't go back past his birth and uses only a few pages to launch him on his political career.

Arthur was elected to only one office in his entire life - that of vice president. His prior political career consisted of appointed office, and he gained the presidency after the assassination of Garfield. Most Americans don't even recognize his name; they have no idea he was president. He was neither loved nor hated. Today he is forgotten.

I feel the book was well written and treats the subject fairly, neither making him a hero nor a villain.

Includes index, bibliography, and chronology but no notes.
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Reading Progress

August 7, 2014 – Shelved
August 7, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read-owned
September 28, 2014 – Started Reading
October 4, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 28, 2018 – Shelved as: biography-president

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