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.
"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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A sympathetic look at Silent Cal
This book attempts to flesh out the relatively one dimensional view of Calvin Coolidge which has been provided to most students of American history. It is generally successful in this regard, however the book relies too much on various verbatim readings of his speeches and writings. This gets a bit tiresome. Overall however the book does provide a better description of the personality and political philosophy of President Coolidge than found in other books on this era.
Obviously the personality of Coolidge dominates the book.
- Donald Theiler