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The American President: The Human Drama of Our Nation's Highest Office Hardcover – October 25, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (October 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157322149X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573221498
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 9.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The American President has the looks of a coffee-table book, the smarts of an academic tome, and the readability of a novel, full of interesting and little-known facts about the first 41 chief executives of the United States. (Bill Clinton is the 42nd president, but Grover Cleveland was elected president twice, before and after Benjamin Harrison, making him the 22nd and 24th president.) The Kunhardt family are producers of both historical books and documentaries, and their television background is evident in the visual emphasis within The American President--which, as it happens, is also being turned into a television documentary. Another thing that sets the book apart from countless others on the presidents is its unique organization. The presidents are not presented in chronological order, but grouped instead according to characteristics that personified them and their presidencies. For example, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson are brought together in a chapter on professional politicians, John Adams and Jimmy Carter share space for their "Independent Cast of Mind," and Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon are noted for "Expanding Power." For anyone interested in the presidency, politics, or history The American President is a wonderful library addition. --Linda Killian

From Library Journal

This work of end-of-the-century American history offers an interesting perspective on the Presidents that may not be best presented in a general coffee-table book format. The authors, Kunhardt Jr., a former managing editor of LIFE magazine, and his two filmmaker sons, Peter W. Kunhardt and Philip B. Kunhardt III, base their narratives on the scholarly Presidential model of Stephen Skowronek (The Politics Presidents Make, LJ 8/93), who categorizes Presidents by the similar problems they encounter: one category groups Presidents by their heroic reputations, while other categories take into account the President's political circumstances, the expanding power of the office, and the officeholders' individual mindsets. The book is profusely illustrated, and each President receives a two- to three-page discussion and an "In His Words" section. The writing is informative but not as interesting, nor are the photographs as emotionally compelling, as that found in Harold Evans's The American Century (LJ 10/1/98). Yet this work is recommended for larger public libraries because of its fascinating view of Presidential behavior, its tie-in with a PBS series to be aired in 2000, and its being picked as a BOMC main selection.AKarl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

It is well written, well researched, and most interesting and informative to read.
Al Krieger
This is an outstanding collection and the book is well worth the purchase for the photo essays alone.
Caz
It will give you a great admiration for this country, our history, and our presidency.
Tim Michaels

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tim Michaels on January 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book that you can lose yourself in for hours, as I did when I first picked it up. The pictures are fascinating, and the history that leaps from this book's pages will mesmerize you. It will give you a great admiration for this country, our history, and our presidency. Even the long-forgotten, "boring" presidents spring to life via the stories of their personal struggles and idiosyncracies. The book is well organized and beautifully presented. Well worth the cover price!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By RICHARD P. BRADSHAW on December 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Probrably one of the best books I have encountered that centers on U.S. Presidents. The way the book groups the chief executives worked well and made for better reading compared to the way most books list them in order. The photographs were many I had never encountered before in my readings and definitely added to the content. I am a history graduate from college and this was a definite plus for my reading collection.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My parents just bought me this book for Christmas, and I can't put it down. I'm 10 years old, and my class has to remember the names of the presidents (in order!) by President's day.
Every one of the stories I've read so far are really interesting - like William Henry Harrison getting sick giving his first speech and dying in a month! The pictures are great, and I'm already explaining things to my parents.
We looked at a kid's book about the presidents first. It had about a page per president, and wasn't that interesting. This is the PERFECT BOOK for a kid who has any interest in American history.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Carll Tucker on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is must-reading and must-owning for any lover of American history. Many of the pictures are rare or unknown. The text reads like a dream, and the categorization of the Presidents is thoughtful and thought-provoking. I'm buying copies for every student of history or government on my holiday shopping list. This book accompanies a TV series which is coming early next year. The more time you spend with the book ahead of time, the more you and yours will get out of the TV series. This same trio of authors produced the extraordinary documentary/book on Lincoln. This is every bit as fine.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The American President is a fascinating look at all 42 presidents of the United States. The information is solid and reliable and the book is so well written it is difficult to put down. Even if you can't read the book is worth buying for the beautiful and revealing pictures.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Al Krieger on June 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of those rare finds that you get to buy from time to time, that would be worth twice the price to have. It is well written, well researched, and most interesting and informative to read. It is written in everyday terms, and is a standout for both content and phtography. It does not even come across as either right or left,nor is it Republican or Demorcrat. It is written right down the middle of the political road. It does not take sides, nor does it pull any punches about any of the presidents. I found it difficult to put down as soon as I started it. What wonderful history; especially since it seems to lift itself right off the pages and place you there with each president. The old pictures are a charm, and wonderfully round off the text. I have never been so facinated with the lives and times of our presidents, before I bought this book. I highly recommend this book for all those interested in our chief executives, as well as the times in which they lived and served as the chief executive. There is not one single thing that I can find wrong with this book. My only other comment, is that I hope that the authors have other similar projects on the front burner for the near future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eli Lato on December 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got the CD version of TAP so I could learn something during my commute to work. This CD is exactly what I wanted. I learned a lot and enjoyed it. I think that anyone but a history major will find a lot of new material in this CD. After trying Dan Rather's "The 20th Century", I was afraid that this would be another superficial and expensive waste of time. Nope. This is more than worthwhile. Now I'm back at Amazon to see what other CDs the authors have done.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Caz on July 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a Canadian, I cannot fully judge on the accuracy of all information presented in this massive tome, but I can say that it is a most enjoyable read. You'll find that when you start to flip through this BIG book, you'll have a hard time putting it down.
The presentation is not chronological and it made for interesting comparison of the 41 men who've risen to the top of American politics. The photos... oh the photos! This is an outstanding collection and the book is well worth the purchase for the photo essays alone. Some of these pictures, I've seen - we've all seen 'em, they're famous - but the vast majority are not oft seen images, many of them presenting a most personal side to each man.
I learned lots I didn't know about American politics and the office of the President in general. This is a book to have for the library. A great reference and a great read.
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