Coolidge: An American Enigma

  • by Robert Sobel
  • Narrated by Charles Bice
  • 16 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the first full-scale biography of Calvin Coolidge in a generation, Robert Sobel shatters the caricature of our 30th president as a silent, do-nothing leader.
Sobel instead exposes the real Coolidge, whose legacy as the most Jeffersonian of all 20th-century presidents still reverberates today. Sobel delves into the record to show how Coolidge cut taxes four times, had a budget surplus every year in office, and cut the national debt by a third in a period of unprecedented economic growth.
Though his list of accomplishments is impressive, Calvin Coolidge was perhaps best known and most respected by his contemporaries for his character. Americans in the 1920s embraced Coolidge for his upstanding demeanor, which came as a breath of fresh air after the scandal-ridden administration of Warren G. Harding. The sleaze that characterizes much of American political life today was absent in the Coolidge administration.


What the Critics Say

"Sobel succeeds at getting the reader to take a serious look at this oft-neglected and sometimes disparaged president, and his tightly argued, well-researched book will be of importance to historians and presidential scholars for years to come." (Library Journal)
"Sobel, who has previously written on the politics of economics, strives to provide a more balanced portrait of a surprisingly complicated and interesting man." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Book Exciting As It's Subject!!!

Ok... I wanted a biography of Coolidge which wasn't dragged through a left wing filter. This book isn't... It seemingly is without bias. It is also without original research, a fact the author makes clear up front. The author has no ability to fashion a well-turned phrase or to execute a slashing insight. Instead Robert Sobel through Charles Bice's yeoman's reading goes from point A to point Z, a ride much like one would take on an old-timey trolley car through the last century's first half. The rider peers outward as the book points out the sites (I believe you can hear Sousa if you listen reeeeeely closely :-) and there's little chance to get out and walk into the scenes at depth.

Still, I now know what I wanted to know about Coolidge. The book gave me what I needed to think about... Rather than giving me the writer's thoughts about it. Living in the Northampton, then Boston area for 25 years, my curiosity grew especially since the Western Mass region ignores its ex-President.

If you are interested in one of America's most popular Presidents and wonder why he's been essentially forgotten - you'll find this book satisfying if a tad boring.

A last thought... this is an old-fashioned history book. It is not driven to entertain, nor to indoctrinate. Rather it appears to be an orderly collection of facts which the reader can use appropriately. It will not spark a movie or TV show. I will allow you to fit Coolidge into your personal live-view. Today, that's a pretty high standard.
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- Ted "Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination."


I like the book but the reader could have been a whole lot more exciting. I found that I had to leave the story from time to time to get back into the storyt; but I did learn and I didn't realize he was a progressive liberal turned conservative. I wish other Presidents would read this book and take some lessons from him. Hell I wish everyone in Congress would read his book. I think I will ask my congressman to read his book.
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- Terry Owens

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-20-2011
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing