As many of you know by now, I have just started a reading challenge of the Presidents of the United States. I’m currently reading about Theodore Roosevelt and still working my way though the text. There are five hundred and fifty-five pages to that book. Anyhow, a lot of the books on my list have a ton of pages and I’m beginning to wonder if I will be able to get this challenge complete in year with all my other reading. We will see. I know I sound a bit daunted but I assure you, I’m thrilled to be taking on this worthwhile challenge. You can read more about the challenge HERE. Below is the book I need next and I’m on the lookout for them through my local independent bookstores.
Stephanie M. Hopkins
Obama: From Promise to Power
by David Mendell
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by Amistad
Barack Obama is arguably the most dynamic political figure to grace the American stage since John F. Kennedy. His meteoric rise from promise to power has stunned even the cynics and inspired a legion of devout followers.
For anyone who wants to know more about the man, David Mendell’s Obama is essential reading. Mendell, who covered Obama for the Chicago Tribune, had far-reaching access to the Chicago politician as Obama climbed the ladder to the White House, the details of which he shares in this compelling biography. Positioning Obama as the savior of a fumbling Democratic party, Mendell reveals how Obama conquered Illinois politics and paved the way brick by brick for a galvanizing, historic presidential run.
With a new afterword by the author, which includes a fresh perspective on Barack Obama following his two historic terms as the first African-American president, and with exclusive interviews with family members and top advisers, and details on Obama’s voting record, David Mendell offers a complete, complex, and revealing portrait. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in American politics in general and President Barack Obama in particular.
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime by Lou Cannon
Paperback, 920 pages
Published March 31st 2000 by PublicAffairs
Hailed by the New Yorker as “a superlative study of a president and his presidency,” Lou Cannon’s President Reagan remains the definitive account of our most significant presidency in the last fifty years. Ronald Wilson Reagan, the first actor to be elected president, turned in the performance of a lifetime. But that performance concealed the complexities of the man, baffling most who came in contact with him. Who was the man behind the makeup? Only Lou Cannon, who covered Reagan through his political career, can tell us. The keenest Reagan-watcher of them all, he has been the only author to reveal the nature of a man both shrewd and oblivious. Based on hundreds of interviews with the president, the First Lady, and hundreds of the administration’s major figures, President Reagan takes us behind the scenes of the Oval Office. Cannon leads us through all of Reagan’s roles, from the affable cowboy to the self-styled family man; from the politician who denounced big government to the president who created the largest peace-time deficit; from the statesman who reviled the Soviet government to the Great Communicator who helped end the cold war.
Jimmy Carter (The American Presidents #39)
by Julian E. Zelizer, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Editor), Sean Wilentz (Editor)
ebook, 208 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Times Books
The maverick politician from Georgia who rode the post- Watergate wave into office but whose term was consumed by economic and international crises
A peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter rose to national power through mastering the strategy of the maverick politician. As the face of the “New South,” Carter’s strongest support emanated from his ability to communicate directly to voters who were disaffected by corruption in politics.
But running as an outsider was easier than governing as one, as Princeton historian Julian E. Zelizer shows in this examination of Carter’s presidency. Once in power, Carter faced challenges sustaining a strong political coalition, as he focused on policies that often antagonized key Democrats, whose support he desperately needed. By 1980, Carter stood alone in the Oval Office as he confronted a battered economy, soaring oil prices, American hostages in Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Carter’s unpopularity enabled Ronald Reagan to achieve a landslide victory, ushering in a conservative revolution. But during Carter’s post-presidential career, he has emerged as an important voice for international diplomacy and negotiation, remaking his image as a statesman for our time.
Write It When I’m Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations With Gerald R. Ford
by Thomas M. DeFrank, Thomas M. DeFrank
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
In 1974, Newsweek correspondent Thomas M. DeFrank was interviewing Gerald Ford when the Vice President blurted out something astonishingly indiscreet. He then extracted a promise not to publish it. “Write it when I’m dead,” Ford said – and thus began a thirty-two-year relationship.
During the last fifteen years of their conversations, Ford opened up to DeFrank, speaking in a way few presidents ever have. Here the award-winning journalist reveals these private talks, as Ford discusses his experiences with his fellow presidents, the Warren Commission, and his exchanges with Bill Clinton during the latter’s impeachment process. In addition, he shares his thoughts about both Bush administrations, the Iraq war, his beloved wife Betty, and the frustrations of aging. Write It When I’m Gone is not only a historical document but an unprecedented portrait of a president.
Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
by Rick Perlstein
Hardcover, 895 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Scribner/Simon & Schuster (NYC)
Politically insightful, Nixonland recaptures the turbulent 60s & early 70s, revealing how Dick Nixon rose from the political grave to seize & hold the presidency. Perlstein’s account begins with the ’65 Watts riots, nine months after Johnson’s landslide victory over Goldwater appeared to herald a permanent liberal consensus. Yet the next year, scores of liberals were tossed from Congress, America was more divided than ever & a disgraced politician was on his way to a shocking comeback.
Between ’65 & ’72, America experienced a 2nd civil war. From its ashes, today’s political world was born. It was the era not only of Nixon, Johnson, Agnew, Humphrey, McGovern, Daley & Geo Wallace but Abbie Hoffman, Ronald Reagan, Angela Davis, Ted Kennedy, Chas Manson, John Lindsay & Jane Fonda. There are glimpses of Jimmy Carter, Geo H.W. Bush, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry & even of two ambitious young men named Karl Rove & Bill Clinton–& an unambitious young man named Geo W. Bush.
Cataclysms tell the story: Blacks trashing their neighborhoods. White suburbanites wielding shotguns. Student insurgency over the Vietnam War. The assassinations of Rbt F. Kennedy & Martin Luther King. The riots at the ’68 Democratic Nat’l Convention. The fissuring of the Democrats into warring factions manipulated by the dirty tricks of Nixon & his Committee to ReElect the President. Nixon pledging a dawn of nat’l unity, governing more divisively than any president before him, then directing a criminal conspiracy, the Watergate cover-up, from the Oval Office. Then, in 11/72, Nixon, harvesting the bitterness & resentment born of turmoil, was reelected in a landslide, not only setting the stage for his ’74 resignation but defining the terms of the ideological divide characterizing America today.
Filled with prodigious research, driven by a powerful narrative, Perlstein’s account of how America divided confirms his place as one of our country’s most celebrated historians.
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