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Publisher's Summary

Worst. President. Ever. flips the great presidential biography on its head, offering an enlightening - and highly entertaining - account of poor James Buchanan's presidency to prove once and for all that, well, few leaders could have done worse.
But author Robert Strauss does much more, leading listeners out of Buchanan's terrible term in office - meddling in the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, exacerbating the Panic of 1857, helping foment the John Brown uprisings and "Bloody Kansas", virtually inviting a half-dozen states to secede from the Union as a lame duck, and on and on - to explore with insight and humor his own obsession with presidents, and ultimately the entire notion of ranking our presidents. He guides us through the POTUS rating game of historians and others who have made their own Mount Rushmores - or Marianas Trenches - of presidential achievement, showing why Buchanan easily loses to any of the others, but also offering insights into presidential history buffs like himself, the forgotten "lesser" presidential sites, sex and the presidency, the presidency itself, and how and why it can often take the best measures out of even the most dedicated men.
©2016 Robert Strauss (P)2016 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Strauss maintains a light tone, but doesn't sacrifice substance in offering solid historic detail and insights into American politics as the country careened toward civil war." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Earth Lover on 05-29-17

Enjoyable But Lightweight

What did you like best about Worst. President. Ever.? What did you like least?

Breezy overview of a disastrous presidency. Little insight as to larger factors leading to the Civil War. The Impending Crisis by Potter & Fehrenbacher covers Buchanan's term with more insight and depth.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 01-14-17


James Buchanan (1791-1868) the 15th President was a Pennsylvanian and a Southern Democrat. According to author, Robert Strauss, he was the worst president ever. Strauss states he meddled in the Supreme Court decision in the matter of a runaway slave Dred Scott. Strauss states Buchanan managed to trash almost everything he touched most of all setting the Civil War into motion.

Strauss states Buchanan was arrogant, misaligned, indecisive, misread current events and was a self-styled strict constructionist. Apparently, he also refused to listen to or seek good counsel. Strauss states his two closes rivals for the worst president are Warren G. Harding and Franklin Pierce.

The writing is average but the book is well researched. The book is written in an entertaining and humorous fashion. This is not a scholarly academic book. The author has overstated and simplified situations to make his point. The factors leading to the Civil War were years in the making and far more complex than indicated by the author. But the book was fun to read and highlighted a lesser known president.

Tom Perkins did a good job narrating the book. Perkins is an award-winning audiobook narrator.

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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