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Don't be afraid!" was George Washington's near-to-last utterance, to the worried doctor at his bedside. The essential founding father's counsel is understood by well-known historian Beschloss (The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany) to set an example for future presidents. Beschloss outlines how several occupants of the Oval Office—including Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Kennedy and Reagan—combined courage with wisdom to change the future of the country, notwithstanding the slings and arrows they earned. Despite its unpopularity at the time, for instance, Reagan's "strong beliefs combined with his optimism" led him to pursue the policy to abolish nuclear weapons, which helped bring down the Soviet empire peacefully. None of the author's heroes were saints, but rather flawed men sustained by friends, families, conviction and religious faith. With contenders for 2008 already lining up, this well-timed book might, the author hopes, persuade some to take the kinds of "wise political risks that Presidents once did."Perhaps. But knowledgeable readers should look elsewhere for genuine historical insight. The author's broad brushstrokes necessarily restrict him to painting nuanced individuals and complex times in only basic primary colors, and there is little that has not been said before—in some cases, many times. (May)
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Over the past two decades, Michael Beschloss has become one of our most popular and prolific historians, recognizable from his many television appearances and bankable in the mold of David McCullough, Stephen Ambrose, Douglas Brinkley, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Previous books include Taking Charge (1997), an examination of LBJ's White House tapes, and The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany (2002). Critics are not as kind to Presidential Courage as to the author's previous efforts, commenting frequently on a rushed, uneven, and unnecessarily episodic prose style (what Mary Beth Norton deems "the written equivalent of sound bites"). Beschloss's thesis-that presidents are sometimes required to make unpopular decisions-forces on these profiles a sameness that, despite the author's research, reputation, and obvious passion for the subject, undermines the book's effectiveness.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Presidential Courage is an excellent book on some of the great Presidents of US and about the impact of their courageous decision on the history of this country and on the world. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
'Presidential Courage', by Michael Beschloss, is written as a series of vignettes, in chronological order, about critical events or even crises for different presidents. Read morePublished 5 months ago by dave ferree
Interesting in that it shows some of the strong and varying opinions that surround important decisions. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Butler
This was an interesting look at our presidents for it told you about facts that were lesser known not just what you learned in US History in high school.Published 6 months ago by criticalconsumer
Excellent book with thought provoking vignettes from American history. It gave mea different picture of the President's whose actions are recounted. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mike R
Political courage is the essence of this book about presidents both recent & historical. Beginning w/ Washington, Bechloss describes presidential dilemmas which are not the usual... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Coffee Lover
Which would you rather be, a world famous expert on one subject and totally clueless about everything else, or fairly well informed on a wide variety of topics? Read morePublished 9 months ago by Tom Gregg