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Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989

by

Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the acclaimed bestselling author of The Conquerors, Michael Beschloss has brought us a brilliantly readable and inspiring saga about crucial times in America's history when a courageous President dramatically changed the future of the United States.

With surprising new sources and a dazzling command of history and human character, Beschloss brings to life these flawed, complex men — and their wives, families, friends and foes. Never have we had a more intimate, behind-the-scenes view of Presidents coping with the supreme dilemmas of their lives.

You will be in the room with the private George Washington, braving threats of impeachment and assassination to make peace with England. John Adams, incurring his party's "unrelenting hatred" by refusing to fight France and warning his enemies, "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war." Andrew Jackson, in a death struggle against the corrupt Bank of the United States. Abraham Lincoln, risking his Presidency to insist that slaves be freed.

Beschloss also shows us Theodore Roosevelt, taunting J. P. Morgan and the Wall Street leaders who dominated his party. Franklin Roosevelt, defying the isolationists — and maybe the law — to stop Adolf Hitler. Harry Truman, risking a walkout by top officials to recognize a Jewish state. John Kennedy, the belated champion of civil rights, complaining that he has cost himself a second term. And finally, two hundred years after Washington, Ronald Reagan, irking some of his oldest backers to seek an end to the Cold War.

As Beschloss shows in this gripping and important book, none of these Presidents was eager to incur ridicule, vilification or threats of political destruction and even assassination. But in the end, bolstered by friends and family, hidden private beliefs and, sometimes, religious faith, each ultimately proved himself to be, in Andrew Jackson's words, "born for the storm."

Review:

"Don't be afraid!' was George Washington's near-to-last utterance, to the worried doctor at his bedside. The essential founding father's counsel is understood by well-known historian Beschloss (The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany) to set an example for future presidents. Beschloss outlines how several occupants of the Oval Office — including Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Kennedy and Reagan — combined courage with wisdom to change the future of the country, notwithstanding the slings and arrows they earned. Despite its unpopularity at the time, for instance, Reagan's 'strong beliefs combined with his optimism' led him to pursue the policy to abolish nuclear weapons, which helped bring down the Soviet empire peacefully. None of the author's heroes were saints, but rather flawed men sustained by friends, families, conviction and religious faith. With contenders for 2008 already lining up, this well-timed book might, the author hopes, persuade some to take the kinds of 'wise political risks that Presidents once did.'Perhaps. But knowledgeable readers should look elsewhere for genuine historical insight. The author's broad brushstrokes necessarily restrict him to painting nuanced individuals and complex times in only basic primary colors, and there is little that has not been said before — in some cases, many times." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"It has become a cliche to point out that while academic historians write dense, imponderable tomes to get tenure, popular historians satisfy the public hunger with powerfully written and engaging narratives. This cliche could be disproved in two ways: Academics could write terrific histories, and popular historians could write dreadful ones.

Michael Beschloss picks the second option.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"History written with subtlety, verve and an almost novelistic appreciation for the complexities of human nature and presidential politics." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[T]his well-written, carefully researched work deserves a wide audience." Library Journal

Review:

"One could quarrel with [Beschloss'] choice of presidents and critical issues, but his point is well taken." Kansas City Star

Review:

"History buffs will find a lot here to love....Beschloss has sprinkled his accounts with delightful trivia and newly discovered source material that enliven the peeks we get into the struggles inside the Oval Office — even before there was an Oval Office." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Review:

"Presidential Courage alternates neatly between seedy stories of mudslinging and bloated campaign budgets to almost mythical tales of personal sacrifices. This impressive range remains the book's real strength." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"[An] engaging reminder that unpopular presidential acts are not necessarily wrong-headed ones." Boston Globe

Review:

"Beschloss' claims for presidential courage are not credible....Courage is a morally loaded term. We tend to forget that when it's exercised in behalf of causes we don't like, we call it stubbornness." Baltimore Sun

Review:

"In some cases, Beschloss' choices are obvious and familiar, but he does an admirable job of portraying them dramatically." Providence Journal

Synopsis:

From the author Newsweek called "the nation's leading presidential historian" comes an inspiring narrative chronicling the crucial moments when a courageous president has dramatically changed the future of the United States.

About the Author

Michael Beschloss has been called "the nation's leading Presidential historian" by Newsweek. He has written eight books on American Presidents and is NBC News Presidential Historian, as well as contributor to PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two sons.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

Chapter One

a speedy death to general washington!

Chapter Two

kick this treaty to hell!

Chapter Three

the damnedest liar

Chapter Four

he may retire with undiminish'd glory

Chapter Five

rivalries irritated to madness

Chapter Six

oh, that i was a soldier!

Chapter Seven

rocks and quicksands on all sides

Chapter Eight

the most splendid diamond in my crown

Chapter Nine

i will kill it!

Chapter Ten

not a man to be forced

Chapter Eleven

i was born for the storm

Chapter Twelve

who would have had the courage?

Chapter Thirteen

i am going to be beaten

Chapter Fourteen

too angelic for this devilish rebellion

Chapter Fifteen

a well-meaning baboon

Chapter Sixteen

the country will be saved

Chapter Seventeen

i see dynamite

Chapter Eighteen

black storm

Chapter Nineteen

a rough-and-tumble man

Chapter Twenty

i upset them all

Chapter Twenty-one

we must protect the chief!

Chapter Twenty-two

gloom personified

Chapter Twenty-three

salute your caesar?

Chapter Twenty-four

we have avoided a putsch

Chapter Twenty-five

no people except the hebrews

Chapter Twenty-six

the right place at the right time

Chapter Twenty-seven

how could this have happened?

Chapter Twenty-eight

i am cyrus!

Chapter Twenty-nine

they never show their passion

Chapter Thirty

go get him, johnny boy!

Chapter Thirty-one

it's going to be a civil war

Chapter Thirty-two

a man has to take a stand

Chapter Thirty-three

we win and they lose!

Chapter Thirty-four

it left me greatly depressed

Chapter Thirty-five

don't worry that i've lost my bearings

Chapter Thirty-six

a miracle has taken place

Epiloguepresidential courage

Notes

Sources

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684857053
Subtitle:
Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989
Author:
Beschloss, Michael
Author:
Beschloss, Michael R.
Author:
Beschloss, Michael
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Courage
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Presidents & Heads of State
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Government - Executive Branch
Subject:
Presidents -- United States.
Subject:
Courage -- United States.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Picture book
Publication Date:
May 2007
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
430
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.25 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » US History » US Presidency

Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989 Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 430 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780684857053 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Don't be afraid!' was George Washington's near-to-last utterance, to the worried doctor at his bedside. The essential founding father's counsel is understood by well-known historian Beschloss (The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany) to set an example for future presidents. Beschloss outlines how several occupants of the Oval Office — including Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Kennedy and Reagan — combined courage with wisdom to change the future of the country, notwithstanding the slings and arrows they earned. Despite its unpopularity at the time, for instance, Reagan's 'strong beliefs combined with his optimism' led him to pursue the policy to abolish nuclear weapons, which helped bring down the Soviet empire peacefully. None of the author's heroes were saints, but rather flawed men sustained by friends, families, conviction and religious faith. With contenders for 2008 already lining up, this well-timed book might, the author hopes, persuade some to take the kinds of 'wise political risks that Presidents once did.'Perhaps. But knowledgeable readers should look elsewhere for genuine historical insight. The author's broad brushstrokes necessarily restrict him to painting nuanced individuals and complex times in only basic primary colors, and there is little that has not been said before — in some cases, many times." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "History written with subtlety, verve and an almost novelistic appreciation for the complexities of human nature and presidential politics."
"Review" by , "[T]his well-written, carefully researched work deserves a wide audience."
"Review" by , "One could quarrel with [Beschloss'] choice of presidents and critical issues, but his point is well taken."
"Review" by , "History buffs will find a lot here to love....Beschloss has sprinkled his accounts with delightful trivia and newly discovered source material that enliven the peeks we get into the struggles inside the Oval Office — even before there was an Oval Office."
"Review" by , "Presidential Courage alternates neatly between seedy stories of mudslinging and bloated campaign budgets to almost mythical tales of personal sacrifices. This impressive range remains the book's real strength."
"Review" by , "[An] engaging reminder that unpopular presidential acts are not necessarily wrong-headed ones."
"Review" by , "Beschloss' claims for presidential courage are not credible....Courage is a morally loaded term. We tend to forget that when it's exercised in behalf of causes we don't like, we call it stubbornness."
"Review" by , "In some cases, Beschloss' choices are obvious and familiar, but he does an admirable job of portraying them dramatically."
"Synopsis" by , From the author Newsweek called "the nation's leading presidential historian" comes an inspiring narrative chronicling the crucial moments when a courageous president has dramatically changed the future of the United States.
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