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Presidential Anecdotes

Presidential Anecdotes [PDF]

This is a series of capsule biographies of the presidents, their campaigns, and some of the events that shaped their administrations, followed by short vignettes and stories about them.At first, I was a bit put off by the fact that Boller didn't make too strenuous an effort to distinguish those anecdotes that were apocryphal from those that were likely true, but as I read further I realized that the absolute truth or falsehood of these stories wasn't what was important to him.And he showed me that perhaps it shouldn't be important to me, either.

What Boller creates with the anecdotes is kind of a little tone poem about each man, not only what they said, but what people said about them and what other people said they said.Certain qualities of their characters - and their public personae - begin to emerge.We see presidents that see all three sides of every argument and never seem to settle on their own, presidents who are rumpled old generals, blowhards,teetotalers, partiers, fools, paranoids, heroes, and geniuses.Men of silence and men who are quick with a bon mot.

I really quite enjoyed this book, even tramping through the (mostly) non-entities who helmed the executive through the 18th century.It amused and also informed, and I think I have a better understanding of some important historical personalities having read it.

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