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The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge Paperback – September 13, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of the Pacific (September 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410216225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410216229
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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The author's writing style made for an easy read.
Glen Hendren
I really enjoyed the book and recommend it highly for those who want to get to know one of the few truly conservative presidents which the USA has ever had.
L. Sanner
Clearly there are profound lessons here for today's politicians and anyone considering public office.
off-grid curious

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Marvin D. Pipher on November 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Some years ago, I learned that Calvin Coolidge was one of the presidents that Ronald Reagan most admired. That puzzled me, since what little I knew of Coolidge was not necessarily admirable. To whit: He was known as "Silent Cal," because he didn't have much to say; and he was said to be a "do nothing" president, because he didn't accomplish much. So, when I ran across this book I decided to see if I could learn more about Calvin Coolidge and, hopefully, discover why he was held in such high esteem by America's 40th President.

In answer to the first question: I don't think I learned a lot about Calvin Coolidge. it is abundantly clear that Coolidge wrote this book himself, no ghost writers here, but, he wrote it in a most unusual way. It is almost as if Coolidge, a very private and unusually modest man, was scanning a journal he had kept all his life and briefly describing what he considered to be the high points of his life. As a result, the reader seems to learn much about those who encountered Coolidge or worked with him throughout his life, and what Coolidge thought of them, and something about his major accomplishments. You see what Coolidge saw and see what Coolidge did, but little is learned about the inner man except as deduced from the sage philosophical observations which he scatters throughout his book. In short: the writing seems superficial. It tells us how Calvin Coolidge spent his "dash," but it is hard to believe that the life of this man, who rose from a modest beginning to become President of the United States, could be captured in just 247 pages with extra-wide margins and double spaced text.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Borowy26 VINE VOICE on June 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
To the extent that most Americans remember Calvin Coolidge, it is for a series of amusing anecdotes concerning his economy with words. That characterization is only partly true. Few people know that Coolidge was one of the last presidents who wrote his own speeches and that he held regular press conferences without a press secretary running interference for him. Coolidge, the son of a general store owner in rural Vermont, was immensely popular and could have easily been renominated had he chosen to run in 1928. There was even a movement to draft Coolidge to accept the nomination in 1932. He declined and his successor, Herbert Hoover, was renominated and defeated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Coolidge had a syndicated newspaper column following his retirement from party politics and he produced a highly readable autobiography that is candid and simple in its approach. Coolidge possessed a sense of humor and he did not take himself too seriously. This brief book should not be dismissed by anyone interested in America during the Twenties. Coolidge's reputation suffered, somewhat unfairly, at the hands of the New Deal historians who sought to promote Roosevelt by denigrating his predecessors. Coolidge was neglected as a historical figure until Ronald Reagan sought to rehabilitate his boyhood hero.

Coolidge is buried in Plymouth Notch, close to the same country cross roads store in which he was born and sworn into office by his own father following the sudden death of President Warren G. Harding.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Averky on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At face value, Calvin Coolidge's autobiography is exactly what one would expect based on Coolidge's (unfair) reputation in the United States today: straight, to the point... little embellishment, if any. One might be surprised to hear that there are even the 247 pages that exist until one sees that the font is larger than most books today and the text ends well before it reaches the bottom of each page (as I understand it, my copy - a hardback which the paperback appears to parallel - is a direct reproduction of the 1929 first edition, causing it to have a different format that contemporary books). Further, at face value, the reader might not be disappointed with this format as he can read through the book quickly; it is simply a chronological account of Coolidge's life with little more to attract an audience than its relatively nice prose. As with most books worth reading, however, reading them at face value means missing a great deal of wisdom and value that the author has hidden inside.

The great worth of this book, as the reviewer Marvin Pipher pointed out, is that Coolidge humbly expresses the values, character, and dignity with which he lived - which molded him as he grew, which guided him when he served, and which signaled to him what was important enough to recount when he wrote. When one looks past the pages of simple names and facts, a treasury of wisdom and character can be grasped of which, I wish, all politicians had at least a fraction. Coolidge's stance on what it means to be a politician, the place of law and order within a democracy, his stance on minorities, his collaborative vision of the presidency, his economic sense, his close adherence to proper etiquette while being down to earth and not being pompous...
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