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Silent Cal's Almanack: The Homespun Wit and Wisdom of Vermont's Calvin Coolidge Paperback – August 19, 2008

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Frequently Bought Together

Silent Cal's Almanack: The Homespun Wit and Wisdom of Vermont's Calvin Coolidge + Calvin Coolidge on The Founders: Reflections on the American Revolution &  the Founding Fathers + Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America’s Most Underrated President
Price for all three: $39.43

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Editorial Reviews


"Coolidge has a friend in David Pietrusza, a Coolidge scholar and author/editor of Silent Cal's Almanack."
--Amity Shlaes

"an absorbing compendium of eloquent, pithy, insightful, and intelligent quotes from Calvin Coolidge ... enthusiasticaly recommended ..." 
-- The Midwest Book Review

"Calvin Coolidge was one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century and is certainly the most underrated. This book, compiled by one of my favorite historians, will give readers a full appreciation of why Silent Cal's wisdom shines like a beacon through the fog of historical amnesia."
--Jonah Goldberg

"David  Pietrusza reminds  us  that  decades  before  the  age  of  the  sound bite, Calvin Coolidge mastered the art. But unlike most politicians today, he used few words to say a wisdom-packed mouthful."
--David Stokes

"useful and valuable. [Pietrusza] has made many contributions to our understanding and appreciation of Calvin Coolidge."--Coolidge Interpreter Jim Cooke                                                                                                                                         
"excellent" --Kai's Coolidge Blog

From the Inside Flap

Ronald Reagan: "Now you hear a lot of jokes about Silent Cal Coolidge, but I think the joke is on the people that make jokes because if you look at his record, he cut taxes four times. We had probably the greatest growth and prosperity that we've ever known."

Sarah Palin: "one of our most underrated presidents . . . Americans are awakening again to the wisdom of President Coolidge . . ."

Grover Norquist: "We're looking for another Coolidge."

"He wrote simply, innocently, artlessly," H. L. Mencken once noted regarding Coolidge's prose, "He forgot all the literary affectations and set down his ideas exactly as they came into his head. The result was a bald, but strangely appealing piece of writing--a composition of almost Lincolnian austerity and beauty. The true Vermonter was in every line of it."

Author Amity Shlaes: "Reagan himself admired Coolidge. It's time the rest of us did too."

Mark Steyn: "If you're like me and your idea of a conservative president is Calvin Coolidge . . ."

George Will: "Calvin Coolidge, the last president with whom I fully agreed . . ."

Will Cain: "Calvin Coolidge is my favorite president."

Tim Naftali, Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum: "If you want to balance: it's Coolidge versus [Franklin D.] Roosevelt in dealing with the economy."

Says author Tucker S. Garland III: "The two most successful Republican presidents in the last century were Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1438245408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438245409
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Called one "of the best historians in the United States," "one of the great political historians of all time," and "the undisputed champion of chronicling American Presidential campaigns." David Pietrusza has produced a number of critically-acclaimed works concerning 20th century American history. Critics have compared his work to that of Eric Larson, H. L. Mencken, Theodore H. White, Edmund Morris, H. R. Brands, and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

His "1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America," a study of the dramatic 1948 presidential campaign, is a selection of the History Book Club, the Book-of-the-Month Club, and the Literary Guild.

ForeWord Magazine designated his book "1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies" as among the best political biographies. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Caro has termed "1960" "terrific."

Pietrusza's "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns.

Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled "Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series" was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award. Rothstein's audio version won an AUDIOFILE Earphones Award.

Pietrusza has edited three volumes on the career and works of Calvin Coolidge: "Silent Cal's Almanack: The Homespun Wit & Wisdom of Vermont's Calvin Coolidge," "Calvin Coolidge: A Documentary Biography," and "Coolidge on the Founders: Calvin Coolidge on the American Revolution & the Founding Fathers." Says Amity Shlaes: "an authority on the 1920s and [Calvin] Coolidge . . . David Pietrusza has brought Coolidge back to life with his volumes about the president . . ."

Pietrusza's "Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis," received the 1998 CASEY Award and was also a Finalist for the 1998 Seymour Medal and nominated for the NASSH Book Award.

Pietrusza collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called "Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures."

His books have been utilized as texts by such colleges as George Washington University, the City University of New York,  the University at Buffalo, Baylor University, Bellevue College, the University of Illinois, the University of San Francisco, and Portland State College. "1920" has been part of the syllabus for the course "Congress, The Presidency & 21st Century Media" offered by C-SPAN, The Cable Center and the University of Denver. His talk on "Silent Cal's Almanack" is included in the curriculum for the C-SPAN Classroom initiative.

Pietrusza served as president (1993-97) of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and as editor-in-chief of the publishing company Total Sports.

He has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN (including "The Contenders" and "First Ladies: Influence & Image"), C-SPAN Book TV (including "In Depth"), C-SPAN American History TV, ESPN, the Fox News Channel, the History Channel ("The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents"), EBRU-TV, GBTV, the Voice of America, "Secrets of New York," and the Fox Sports Channel. He has produced and written the PBS-affiliate documentary, "Local Heroes." He has served as a regular panelist for Live.

An internationally recognized expert on American presidential elections, he has been interviewed by Le Figaro, Le Monde, Radio-France, Radio-France International, Greece's To Vima, and Denmark's Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Pietrusza holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University at Albany and has served on the City Council in Amsterdam, New York. He has served as public information officer for both the NYS Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform and the NYS Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.

Pietrusza is the Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany.

His study of the 1932 elections, "1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR: Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal & Unlikely Destiny," (Kirkus starred review) is published by Lyons Press on October 1, 2015.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on November 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Haven't you been wondering about the Roaring 20's? What made them "roar?" It had to be more than just the Charleston, right? WWI ended and industrial manufacturing was humming along. This book, while never mentioning the roaring 20's, made it perfectly plain that sound policies can fuel a decade of prosperity and plenty.

I had no impression at all of Calvin Coolidge. Something Jay Nordlinger wrote in an Impromptus column made me pick up this book, and what a find!

"Our country is an exceedingly good example of the fact that if production be encouraged and increased, then distribution fairly well takes care of itself. Other countries, by their actions in stopping production, in penalizing industry and economy, and rewarding indolence and extravagance, have been able to bring about a very general and equal distribution of misery, but no other country ever approached ours in the equal and general distribution of prosperity." Coolidge, 1923

"That tax is theoretically best which interferes least with business. Every student knows that excessively high tax rates defeat their own purpose. They dry up that source of revenue and leave those paying lower rates to furnish all the taxes."

"There is no escaping the fact that when the taxation of large incomes is excessive, they tend to disappear."

"Ultimately, property rights and personal rights are the same thing."

Having read this book and thought about it a bit, I might have to conclude that Coolidge is one of the most underappreciated presidents in the bunch.

This book is well worth buying. I sat and laughed out loud for an entire evening, reading some of the stories surrounding the President. I read some to my darling husband, too. It's an enjoyable book.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Robert N. Going Esq on August 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
Noted historian David Pietrusza has added another gem to his impressive body of work, this time compiling and editing the words of one of his favorite subjects, the underrated Calvin Coolidge, who deftly presided over an unprecedented growth of American commerce and prosperity. Noted primarily for his brevity, this book proves over and over that Coolidge possessed a native eloquence that may be unmatched by any of our presidents save Lincoln.

Each carefully chosen quote or anecdote is a treasure, and the longer pieces still fascinate more than 80 years later. Pietrusza wraps it all together with some pretty decent prose of his own, as is to be expected from the author of "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" and the soon to be released "1960" which I had the pleasant opportunity to review in a late draft.

This is a book you will want to keep by your reading chair, to take down, ponder and enjoy for many years to come.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael DeStefano on May 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Silent Cal's Almanack
By David Pietrusza

A review by M. DeStefano:

"Restricted immigration is not an offensive but purely a defensive action. It is not adopted in criticism of others in the slightest degree, but solely for the purpose of protecting ourselves. We cast no aspersions on any race or creed, but we must remember that every object of our institutions of society and government will fail unless America be kept American."
Ref: David Pietrusza, ed., Silent Cal's Almanack, (United States: David Pietrusza, 2008, p. 70.

This was the straight-forward observation of an American President! But not from someone you would normally have suspected. These words are not tinged with racism or hate, but logic. These words were not exclusive, but inclusive--inclusive of a nation who welcomed industrious, hard-working immigrants, but wanted them to come through the front door.

These were the words of "Silent" Calvin Coolidge as he accepted his party's nomination for President of the United States.

This is but one example of the "homespun wit and wisdom" of our 30th President, a man who was famous for not saying a thing and doing very little as president in the most `roaring' and prosperous period of our nation's history--the 1920s.

In assembling the wide array of verbal and written gems uttered by the alleged "Silent Cal," the author, David Pietrusza had ripped the veil of obscurity from the false premise that our 30th President said very little. Quite to the contrary, his brilliant ability to employ economy of words while saying something surprisingly profound, enamored another future president who would be known as "the great communicator," President Ronald Reagan!
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Format: Paperback
Silent Cal's Almanack: The Homespun Wit and Wisdom of Vermont's Calvin Coolidge is an absorbing compendium of eloquent, pithy, insightful, and intelligent quotes from Calvin Coolidge, a.k.a. "Silent Cal", America's 30th President. Cal's thoughtful verbal gems are arranged by topic, and include "There can be no national greatness which does not rest upon the personal integrity of the people," and "Selfishness is only another name for suicide." Also present are some more questionable comments that reveal Cal's personal biases (he was unquestionably a product of his time), such as "Savages have no history," and "Religion has laid the foundation of government." A fifty-page portfolio of black-and-white photographs, editorial cartoons, and campaign memorabilia as well as an original biographical essay of Silent Cal round out this treasury, enthusiastically recommended to anyone seeking to better understand the mind of America's most notoriously nonvocal president.
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