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The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison (American Presidency Series) Hardcover – May 27, 1987

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The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison (American Presidency Series) + The Presidency of William McKinley (American Presidency (Univ of Kansas Hardcover)) + Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 23rd President, 1889-1893
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Product Details

  • Series: American Presidency Series
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; 1ST edition (May 27, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700603204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700603206
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Students of American history at last have a full interpretive study of an (until now) obscure administration. Harrison has long been treated as a cipher; this study rescues him, portraying him as a confident, hard-working, and even visionary leader. Huge GOP losses in the 1890 election stymied a domestic program that had produced landmark laws in the Sherman Antitrust Act and the McKinley Tariff. Thereafter the president concentrated on foreign policy. Harrison, the authors argue, personally laid the groundwork for later American acquisition of Hawaii and expansion in the Far East. Although Harrison has been the subject of a detailed three-volume biography by H.J. Sievers, this book is the first to provide a critical assessment of his presidency. Essential for scholars. Thomas E. Schott, Office of History, Engineering Installation Div., Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"This thorough and well-researched volume should stimulate new scholarly interest in an underrated and complex occupant of the White House." -- Journal of American History

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Burns VINE VOICE on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not only is he one of America's lesser known presidents, Benjamin Harrison is not even the better known of presidents named Harrison. His grandfather, William Henry Harrison, bears the name most Americans remember if they recognize the Harrison name at all. Old Harrison made his name as a dashing military hero; his grandson decades later would fight well under Sherman and attained the rank of brevet brigadier general, but as events would unfold, the country was awash in brevet generals in 1888.
The University Press of Kansas began its presidency series with a treatment of George Washington's tenure in 1974, and as of this writing has brought the series as far along as the presidency of George Bush, Senior. A survey of the series indicates that coincidentally or not, all the volumes to date are remarkably similar in length, just under three hundred pages in most cases. Critics may argue that presidencies such as Lincoln's or FDR's might merit more ink than, say, Franklin Pierce or our subject at hand, Benjamin Harrison. Having read several volumes, I would say that the success of the series to date has been bringing the achievements of the lesser known presidents to more public prominence. Presidents such as Hayes and the second Harrison have done better by this series than have Nixon or Kennedy, whose volumes naturally have had to compete with the products of the likes of Sorensen, Manchester, Caro, Dallek, etc.
The University Press has attempted to stay focused upon the presidencies themselves, which has had the effect of dulling some of our more charismatic leaders and their colorful pasts. [One wonders how the editors will come to grips with Monica Lewinski, when that day inevitably arrives.] Diminishment of charisma is not a problem when treating of Harrison.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lehigh History Student VINE VOICE on October 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent summation of the Benjamin Harrison presidency and covers the tumultuous changes that were occurring in the 1890's. Harrison was the last of the civil war presidents to achieve the presidency and led with a military like clarity that was reminiscent of Grant. Harrison broke the rules of Gilded Age politicians by appointing a cabinet of unknowns and not answering to party machines and stalwarts alike. He was the true commander in chief managing the army at a time during the end of the Indian Wars and Wounded Knee as well as beginning the building of a navy that would allow McKinley to begin an American "empire". Benjamin Harrison also served as his own secretary of state due to the illness of Blaine allowing Harrison unprecedented control that Gilded Age presidents did not typically have. Overall this book hones in on these topics and more following the Harrison presidency and how it impacted America. It is an excellent and brief summation of an important Gilded Age president and well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pugwash on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
For those looking to learn about the administrations of the Gilded Age and for that matter, post Civil War Presidencies, the material is scarce. Aside from Ullyses Grant, who has merited more ink than many of the Presidents, mostly because of his heroics during the Civil War, most of the men who served after Abraham Lincoln, and before Theodore Roosevelt are relegated to historical obscurity.

So it is with our 23rd Chief Executive, Benjamin Harrison, a one termer, who served between the Adminastrations of Grover Cleveland. Harrison, by the account of this author, Homer Socolofsky, was a decent man, an accomplished President, and sadly, a man whose efforts, and time in office have been misunderstood and unsung.

This really is not a biography. It recounts and explains his time in office, and his accomplishments. In this, it succeeds. In many ways, Harrison was our first modern President. He used a telephone, travelled the country widely, and saw the reality and potential of the US as a major World power. He engaged in diplomacy, some friendly and some not, with European countries, and began the process of bringing Hawaii into the fold as a US protectorate, territory and later, a US State.

His Presidency was hampered a series of tragedies, first to his Cabinet members, and later to his wife. He seemed to somewhat grasp the fast moving times he led, as the US began to brace for industrialization, and the west, as it was known, forever changed.

Harrison has gained a new respect by many historians, and a new understanding. Although a man who was thought to be standoffish and distant, he was in many ways, a statesman.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In trying to collect and read the biographies of each of the United States' presidencies, I have run across some uneveness as to the information contained in those biographies. Accordingly, I have started to collect the books in the series from the University of Kansas. There is a great deal of uniformity of the organization of each book in this series. Each book deals the presidency of the person and not with the career of the person prior to or following their term in office. Furthermore, the events of the particular presidency are organized in a similar way in each book. Thus, when I refer back to a particular book to find out who was the Secretary of State or was the Post Master General appointed by the particular president, I know where to look. Additionally, there will be information as to what state in the union the particular appointee to the cabinet came from and the political reasons as to why the appointment was made. This kind of uniformity is more of a credit to the editors of the series rather than the individual authors.

The General Editor of this series is Homer E. Socolofsky. However, with regard to this particular book on Benjamin Harrison, Socolofsky also undertook a major piece of the writing of the book with Allen B. Spetter. Thus, the organization of this book is the best evidence of the the way that the General Editor of the series wishes each book in the series to be organized. Nearly every book that I have read in this series has the same type of organization that is evident in this book. This makes each new book in the series that I collect, a particularly welcome part of my library.
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