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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Character Above All: Ten Presidents from FDR to George Bush edited by Robert A. Wilson

    Fascinating! Informative!

As the title implies, Character Above All: Ten Presidents from FDR to George Bush is a collection of biographcial essays on each of the 10 presidents from FDR to George H.W. Bush (Bush 41) by 10 different authors who are either expert historians or knew the President while in office. The thing that ties them all together is that each essay is supposed to look at each man as president and find that one part of his character that made him the type of president he was. Each essay is about 30 pages and it makes for interesting reading.

Doris Kearns Goodwin
A good sample would come from Doris Kearns Goodwin's look at Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She asserts that the most valuable component of his personality was his self-confidence. I thought this quote from FDR makes the point wonderfully: "I'll tell you...at night when I lay my head on my pilow, and it is often pretty late, and I think of the things that have come before me during the day and the decisions that I have made, I say to myself - well, I have done the best that I could, and turn over and go to sleep."

The essays are wonderful - some inspiring, such as Gerald Ford's, some disturbing such as JFK's. However, all are well-written and this is a fantastic collection.

This book can be found on Amazon here: Character Above All: Ten Presidents from FDR to George Bush   

I rate this book 5 stars out of a possible 5 stars.
Reviewed on February 11, 2005.

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