Presidential Courage

  • by Michael Beschloss
  • Narrated by Michael Beschloss
  • 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Michael Beschloss' dramatic and inspiring saga explores crucial times when courageous presidents changed the history of the United States. With surprising new sources and a dazzling command of history and human character, Beschloss brings these flawed, complex men and their wives, families, friends, and foes to life as if in a gripping novel. Never have we had a more intimate, behind-the-scenes view of presidents coping with the supreme dilemmas of their lives. In Presidential Courage you will witness 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, "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; and the crushing ordeals faced by Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. As Beschloss shows, none of these presidents was eager to incur ridicule, vilification, or threats of political destruction and even assassination. But in the end, each ultimately proved himself to be, in Andrew Jackson's words, "born for the storm".

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Incredibly Relevant to our times!

Michael Beschloss examines key, historic moments in the lives of George Washington, John Adams, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, TR Roosevelt, FD Roosevelt, H. Truman, JFK, and Ronald Reagan when these men made courageous decisions, in spite of the political or personal risks, that were in the best interest of our country and world. These historic accounts reveal the strong character, and the human side, of these men in the face of the challenges presidents face. Interestingly, the challenges that these men faced, both in the domestic and foreign arenas (including polarized congresses and electorates), seem quite relevant. This book is a must read for politicians, as well as others who are interested in learning about how presidential decisions have influenced the course of American history. My only complaint is that this recording is abridged.
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- LM in Alabama

Read book first then listened to book

Would you consider the audio edition of Presidential Courage to be better than the print version?

Liked both print and audio of book.


What did you like best about this story?

Learning that elected officials can make hard decisions even when it's not politically wise.


What about Michael Beschloss’s performance did you like?

His tone was easy to follow and he unfolded each story well.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Teddy Roosevelt's presidency was very interesting since he was a Republican with Democratic principles.


Any additional comments?

Since I was scheduled to lead a bookclub meeting on this book, I read the book first and then listened to the book. The actions taken by the presidents cited in the book provided great bookclub discussion. We also reviewed what other bold moves these same presidents made that were not included in the book and what other presidents during the same 200 years did that were not included. There were several general themes in the examples given in the book with the most obvious being that politics have not changed since Washington's time. Another theme that evolved was that many of the presidents did not necessarily initially support the actions they took but eventually saw that the country would benefit from the unpopular decision.

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- Diana

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-23-2007
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio