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An interesting book, although I found it a little more interesting from FDR on because they're presidents who I am familiar with ---
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The author, O'Brien, did not make himself master of his material. Every piece of trivia recounted could be found in a quick web search, and many even more interesting things were left out.
O'Brien made the novice historian's error of presuming to speak for what his subjects wanted or thought without showing evidence that this was the motive behind the policy in question (and obviously ignoring direct evidence from the Presidents' own speeches writings and diaries that contradicts his psychoanalysis. This is compounded by an easy partisanship; partisanship is easier to forgive in a historian who recognizes her/his own biases, but O'Brien has no such sense of self, writing over and over things like "everybody agrees that . . ." or "we can all be thankful that . . ." about issues faced in the past over which reasonable people still differ today.
A good prose style can make up for sloppy history, as in Chesterton's thoroughly enjoyable if unreliable history of England. Sadly O'Brien's prose is lackluster; neither engaging, enraging, or melodious, but in the form of simple un-lyrical statements and lists.
I wanted to like the book, but I simply could not find a purchase from which I could hang any praise for it.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes definitely it was very interesting and shed light on an important subject of which I knew less than I had believed!
It's quite fascinating to hear about the early days of America, and to reflect on how much has changed. Hearing about Calvin Coolidge and how he slept for 2-4 hours every afternoon was probably the funniest topic.
The story about President Taft's horse also made me laugh out loud.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Which character – as performed by Robin Bloodworth – was your favourite?
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Betcha didn't know that!
Any additional comments?
Well worth a listen, and actually I might buy the book too as there's interesting factual information I'd be interested to retread.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What your teacher didn't tell you is that half of the US presidents cheated on their partners multiple times. Other than that there really isn't much else to the book.
There are better books on the american presidents out there. I would recommend Don't Know Much About American Presidents before reading this. The structure is exactly the same in that it starts with George and ends with Barack. More details in that book but less about the sex.
This is a good book, just the title's a bit misleading,