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.
"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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Enjoyable But Lightweight
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.
- George H.