Don't Know Much About? the American Presidents

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-09-18
  • Publisher: Hachette Books

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� Which president broke the laws to keep his slaves from being freed? � How did a president help save college football from early extinction? � Who said, "When the president does it that means it's not illegal"? � If the framers of the Constitution didn't mention an "electoral college," how come it picks the president? � Who was the "Negro President?" You have questions. Kenneth C. Davis has answers. For more than twenty years since his New York Times bestseller Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned first appeared, Davis has shown that Americans don't hate history, just the dull version dished out in school. An instant classic, his first work of American history has sold more than 1.6 million copies. Now Davis turns his attention to what is arguably the most important and most fascinating subject in American history: our presidents. From the heated debates over executive powers when those framers improvised the office in the steamy summer of 1787 though the curious election of George Washington in 1789 and, for more than 200 years, up through the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the first African-American commander in chief, the presidency has been at the heart of American history. From the low lights to the bright lights, from the intellectuals to the disasters, from the memorable to the forgettable and forgotten, Davis tells all the stories. He uses his entertaining question-and-answer style to chart the history of the presidency itself as well as debunk the myths of America's leaders and tell the real stories of these very real people. Here's the young Lincoln building his mother's coffin and dragging a tragic burden through the snow to the burial; Theodore Roosevelt, America's youngest president, shockingly pushed into the presidency-with greatness thrust upon him; FDR, the only man elected four times, concealing his crippling disability from the American public as he led the nation through depression and world war; and Lyndon Johnson, reelected in a landslide, then crushed by the weight of the Vietnam War. For history buffs and history-phobes alike, this entertaining book is packed with memorable facts that will change your understanding of the highest office in the land and the men who have occupied it.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Author's Notep. xix
The Making of the President-1787
Presidential Profiles: The Life and Times of Americas Chief Executives from George Washington to Barack Obamap. 33
George Washingtonp. 35
John Adamsp. 63
Thomas Jeffersonp. 82
James Madisonp. 104
James Monroep. 123
John Quincy Adamsp. 140
Andrew Jacksonp. 150
Martin Van Burenp. 170
William Henry Harrisonp. 181
John Tylerp. 186
James K. Polkp. 195
Zachary Taylorp. 206
Millard Fillmorep. 213
Franklin Piercep. 223
James Buchananp. 233
Abraham Lincolnp. 247
Andrew Johnsonp. 268
Ulysses S. Grantp. 279
Rutherford Birchard Hayesp. 294
James Abram Garfieldp. 303
Chester A. Arthurp. 311
Grover Clevelandp. 320
Benjamin Harrisonp. 330
Grover Clevelandp. 339
William McKinleyp. 347
Theodore Rooseveltp. 359
William Howard Taftp. 375
Woodrow Wilsonp. 384
Warren Gamaliel Hardingp. 397
Calvin Coolidgep. 405
Herbert Clark Hooverp. 415
Franklin Delano Rooseveltp. 425
Harry S. Trumanp. 447
Dwight David Eisenhowerp. 464
John Fitzgerald Kennedyp. 478
Lyndon Baines Johnsonp. 495
Richard Milhous Nixonp. 510
Gerald Rudolph Fordp. 527
James Earl Carter, Jr.p. 536
Ronald Wilson Reaganp. 545
George Herbert Walker Bushp. 561
William Jefferson Clintonp. 573
George Walker Bushp. 589
Barack Hussein Obamap. 607
What Should We Do with the President?p. 619
Appendicesp. 633
The United States Constitution: Article IIp. 635
Constitutional Amendments Affecting the Presidency, Presidential Elections, and Voting Rightsp. 641
The Order of Presidential Successionp. 653
"It's All About the Benjamins" Presidents on Coins and Currencyp. 655
Acknowledgmentsp. 659
Notesp. 661
Bibliographyp. 687
Indexp. 705
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