on December 9, 2000
If you know nothing about Calvin Coolidge, then this book - The Quotable Calvin Coolidge -- is the book for you. If, on the other hand, you know President Coolidge to have been a man of integrity, wisdom, and humor -- then, this is the book for that friend of yours who can never see what you see in the 30th president, and, what's more -- won't listen if you try to explain. You know the type: Your friend perhaps admires Jefferson for believing "that government is best that governs least." Then, ridicules `Silent Cal' for showing how it's done!
Editor Peter Hannaford has taken on the task of rounding up all the usual Coolidge quotes as well as providing many that are less familiar. He cites chapter and verse, too, supplying context and date for every quotation. Selections range from a view expressed in a graduation `oration' by 18-year old J. Calvin Coolidge to private remarks to a friend days before his early death in 1933 at age 60. Quotes are arranged alphabetically by subject -- beginning with African Americans and concluding with Zeal. This compilation is a treasure to be mined by speakers, politicians and writers; however, it's a mine field for the ideas of born-again New Deal scholars committed to parroting the narrow views of their mentors bent on belittling "Silent Cal".
The Quotable Calvin Coolidge has a helpful chronology detailing Coolidge's life, beginning in 1872 with his 4th of July birth in Plymouth, Vermont and on through his education and subsequent steady rise in Massachusetts' political ranks to our nation's highest office. There's a 26 page introduction to the man, the political figure and icon of an era. In his long public career, Coolidge often said, "The things I did not say never hurt me." Yet, the things he did say are clearly of service to us today and will remain worth considering, tomorrow.
on January 21, 2001
This book is a fascinating collection of Coolidge quotations with an intriguing introduction by Peter Hannaford. Hannaford points out that the New Dealers stereotyped Coolidge for political reasons, and New Deal historians quoted selectively from William Allen White's two biographies of Coolidge, furthering the stereotype of Coolidge as a failed president, unimaginative, lacking in intellectual curiosity, and unknowledgeable about history--among other faults. The Coolidge reassessment began in 1998--or perhaps really in 1981, when President Reagan hung a portrait of Coolidge, one of his favorite presidents, in the Cabinet Room in the White House. This book gives the reader Coolidge, the man, on many topics. Coolidge wrote all his own speeches and, for a year after leaving the presidency, a five-day-a-week newpaper column. Historians have had to reassess Dwight Eisenhower, and the reassessment of Ronald Reagan is underway. Another confirmation that the accepted wisdom on Republican presidents, especially when they are viewed as not too bright and not too knowledgeable, is usually wrong.
on July 21, 2004
As history finally catches up with reassessing President Coolidge and putting him in his proper place, this small, thin volume of his quotations is a breath of fresh air, indeed, in these days of TV ops and media handling. Presidents are always a product of their times and Coolidge was of his. His calls for simplicity, decency, honesty and character would open a current President up to all sorts of cynics, but they ring true with President Coolidge. I do hope this little tome will help lay to rest many misconceptions. A must read. . .
ADDITION ON 9/9/08: I still have this little book and still treasure my copy. Over the past few years I've purchased several more to give away. So few people have real knowledge of Mr. Coolidge. This book reveals the depth of his feelings, so counter to public lore.
on January 27, 2005
This is a great addition to your library if you are a fan of presidential quotes or books. Coolidge's presidency has been reassessed as of late by many and has been the topic of a few recent writings. This is an even-handed look at Coolidge through his own writings, speeches and interviews.
Hannaford begins with a short discussion of the renewed interest in President Coolidge. He then moves onto a very abbreviated biography and a timeline of his life. After these 34 pages, the rest of the book is dedicated to quotes listed by subject. Each quote has its source and context (when appropriate) of the quip.
Through this book, you begin to get a little deeper understanding of Coolidge.
on March 19, 2008
Ask people what they know about Calvin Coolidge and you might get a response; "Hey wasn't he a President?" Yet few recognize him or know him as a witty man whose handling of the Boston police strike of 1919 would inspire Ronald Reagan to stand up to the illegal strike of the air traffic controllers in 1981.
When he died in 1933 it wasn't long that New Dealers and historians supportive to FDR and his programs relegated Coolidge to the ash heap of "historical life" a failure. However, Coolidge was far from it.
In many ways Coolidge espoused the Conversative views that caused many of us to admire Ronald Reagan. If you don't believe it then this is what Coolidge had to say about Freedom when nominated for President in 1924:
"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the Government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom."
You will not hear anything like this coming from any of the current candidates running for President in 2008.
The beauty of this compilation by Hannaford is that it relates so well to the political and social world of today. IMHO, Coolidge saw then the problems that face our nation today. Oh, yes, another beauty of this work, is that it is a very quick and entertaining read.