For more than twenty years since his New York Times bestseller Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned first appeared, Davis has shown that Americans don’t hate history, just the dull version dished out in school. An instant classic, his first work of American history has sold more than 1.6 million copies.
Now Davis turns his attention to what is arguably the most important and most fascinating subject in American history: our presidents. From the heated debates over executive powers when those framers improvised the office in the steamy summer of 1787 though the curious election of George Washington in 1789 and, for more than 200 years, up through the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the first African-American commander in chief, the presidency has been at the heart of American history.
From the low lights to the bright lights, from the intellectuals to the disasters, from the memorable to the forgettable and forgotten, Davis tells all the stories. He uses his entertaining question-and-answer style to chart the history of the presidency itself as well as debunk the myths of America’s leaders and tell the real stories of these very real people. Here’s the young Lincoln building his mother’s coffin and dragging a tragic burden through the snow to the burial; Theodore Roosevelt, America’s youngest president, shockingly pushed into the presidency—with greatness thrust upon him; FDR, the only man elected four times, concealing his crippling disability from the American public as he led the nation through depression and world war; and Lyndon Johnson, reelected in a landslide, then crushed by the weight of the Vietnam War.
For history buffs and history-phobes alike, this entertaining book is packed with memorable facts that will change your understanding of the highest office in the land and the men who have occupied it.
“Reading him is like returning to the classroom of the best teacher you ever had!”
“Kenneth C. Davis may have done more to educate our young people, and the general public, on the topics of history, geography, and science than all of the certified teachers in the country.”
“History in Davis’s hands is loud, course, painful, funny, irreverent—and memorable.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Davis writes with humor, he can turn a fine phrase. . . . If history were usually taught this way, we wouldn’t have to worry about the closing of the American mind.”
“Puts the zest back in history.”
—Washington Post Book World
“Quirky, sardonic, accurate, rudimentary, and often amusing. . . . A breezy question-and-answer approach that is far removed from the massive textbooks all of us once lugged around.”
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