The link below is to an article that takes a look at 20 books written by 2020 US Presidential Candidates.
The link below is to an article that explores a number of books on Donald Trump as president of the USA.
“The President is Missing,” Bill Clinton’s new suspense novel that he co-wrote with James Patterson, was swiftly panned. It spills no secrets, the prose is leaden, the story predictable.
Clinton isn’t the first former president to try his hand at fiction. Jimmy Carter took seven years to write “The Hornet’s Nest: A Novel of the Revolutionary War,” which suffered a similarly unenthusiastic response.
When it came to their literary ambitions, both Clinton and Carter proved John Quincy Adams prescient.
“There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president,” the sixth president once opined.
What happens to motivated, determined, duty-driven men when they are forced to abandon the White House? When the global spotlight dims? When, as Barack Obama put it, life begins to move in slow motion?
As a scholar of presidential families, my research suggests that while presidents have many more options open to them in their “retirement” than the rest of us, they find the transition difficult and their choices have run the gamut from the decent to the disastrous, from altruistic to avaricious.
Getting in the last word
After the daily grind and chaos of being president, it’s no surprise that many presidents, upon leaving office, immerse themselves in quiet activities like writing, painting and farming.
Writing is probably the most common pastime of ex-presidents, who can seldom resist the urge to rehash major events of their tenure, justify their decisions and seek to influence their place in history.
Knowing he was about to die, Ulysses Grant penned his memoir to provide a financial cushion for his family. Bedridden, tormented by pain, and writing on his back in pencil in a desperate race to finish before throat cancer killed him, he completed his manuscript and died days later. It earned nearly half a million dollars for his widow, thanks to the extremely generous royalties granted to him by his friend and publisher, Samuel Clemens.
Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting books, Herbert Hoover’s “Fishing for Fun: And to Wash Your Soul” and Gerald Ford’s “Humor and the Presidency” stand in contrast to the many books written by former presidents analyzing foreign and domestic policy, chronicling past eras, providing civic and spiritual advice and showcasing public and private correspondence.
John Adams grimly rebutted the by then deceased Alexander Hamilton in protracted letters to the Boston Patriot. Even “Silent Cal” found he had a lot to say post presidency, churning out 300 syndicated newspaper columns under the title “Calvin Coolidge Says.”
Painting, meanwhile, acted as a solitary, post-presidential pursuit for at least three former presidents.
Dwight Eisenhower’s landscapes and portraits occupied his last two decades and were exhibited widely. An oil painting of Carter’s netted US$750,000 for charitable works last year, and George W. Bush professes to be both “challenged” and made “happy” by his artwork.
Farming also places high on the agenda of ex-presidents. Like Cincinnatus, the powerful fifth-century B.C. Roman leader, George Washington resisted the temptation to remain in power and instead returned to his plow. James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan, among others, all found solace in going home to their fields and ranches. Eisenhower earned a place in the Angus Heritage Foundation for the prize-winning cattle he raised on his farm near Gettysburg.
The allure of the limelight
But as John Quincy Adams well knew, the glamours and thrills of the old life always beckon.
Theodore Roosevelt may have once written with his customary certainty that “when [the president] goes out of office he takes up his regular round of duties like any other citizen, or if he is of advanced age retires from active life to rest.”
Yet once his term was up, Roosevelt undertook an African safari, started a third party, charted an unexplored river in Brazil, and tried but failed to recreate the Rough Riders for the World War I trenches. George H. W. Bush, who celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving, recalls this level of derring-do.
Some former presidents turn into elder statesmen, dispensing advice to all who will listen, especially presidential hopefuls. They are called upon to attend state funerals, put in appearances, unveil their portraits and accept awards.
Not everyone complies. Millard Fillmore resisted an honorary degree from Oxford University because he felt he did not deserve it. Harry Truman knew he didn’t merit the proffered Congressional Medal of Honor.
Then there are the politicians who simply cannot stop being politicians.
In 1799, Washington set a precedent for inserting himself into future elections, when, with the elections of 1800 looming, he persuaded fellow Federalists to run for office and made sure he was solidly apprised of political machinations.
Fillmore, Grant, Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt all ran for president after leaving the White House. John Quincy Adams was elected nine times to the House of Representatives, doing such good work that he – like Carter – was considered a better former president than president. Seven years after he was impeached, Tennessee sent Andrew Johnson back to the U.S Congress.
“Thank God for the vindication,” he gloated – although his Senate colleagues largely snubbed him.
But only one was truly a traitor. John Tyler became a secessionist and an elected member of the Confederate Congress.
In the end, the desire to reward and punish, to analyze the past, to promote an agenda, to be part of the nation’s business, and to remain in the spotlight proves overwhelming.
Some former presidents may eventually come across as pathetic, but none is ever missing from public view for too long. Ambitious men accustomed to prominence and power find it difficult to “retire from active life to rest.”
Presidents who preceded him have provided Donald Trump several options for his eventual retirement. It is, however, nearly impossible to imagine his Twitter account truly going dark.
First up is an interview with Israeli president Shimon Peres by journalist David Samuels, a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine. The interview, which retails for $0.99, was produced in association with Tablet Magazine, an online daily that focuses on Jewish news and culture. An interview with the president of Israel does not seem like a particularly splashy way to launch the series, but this program could be a way for Amazon to team up with various media outlets and get more content from them in the future.
Kindle Singles, which Amazon launched in 2011, focuses on “compelling ideas expressed at their natural length” and sells works that are generally longer than a magazine article but shorter than a book, most priced between $0.99 and $2.99. There are now 400…
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The link below is to an article/interview with Jason Ashlock, founder and president of Movable Type Management and looks at the future of book publishing.
This book is for history enthusiasts and concerns what has come down to us as the ‘Boston Massacre.’ The Boston Massacre was an important incident that led up to the American War of Independence. This book contains an account of the incident, as well as information on the town of Boston, the trial of the soldiers involved in the incident and a number of unpublished documents attributed to John Adams (who would become the second president of the United States) who defended the British troops
in their trial.
The book is some 320 pages long and can be downloaded as a pdf, as well as a number of other formats as shown on the page linked to.
To Download the pdf version of the book, visit:
I have just had a quick look at ‘A Cartoon History of the George Dubya Bush Years,’ by Elena Steier. This book is a collection of cartoons from the George W. Bush years as president of the United States. They are a comical look at those years and I’m sure will produce a laugh or two for some people. I however found little in it that amused me – perhaps because I live in Australia and don’t get all the political jokes based on the US political scene of the George W. Bush years.
I have to say that I found some of the cartoons quite offensive and a good number without anything that made them funny to my way of thinking at all. I quite openly state that I am a Christian and therefore some of the material in these cartoons is particularly shocking and offensive to me.
I have had a good laugh at a good number of the cartoons I have seen of George W. Bush in Australian papers, so I do not base my opinion of this book on my appreciation of George W. Bush as a president or for not being able to have a laugh at politics. I simply did not find this book particularly funny or appealing in any way. In fact, I have rid myself of it completely.
Available at Amazon:
I have been reading the five volume work of Washington Irving on the ‘Life of George Washington’ over the last little while. Currently I am in the middle of the second volume. Though I am only reading two to ten pages a day and don’t view this reading exercise as particularly pressing, I am enjoying my reading experience very much. It is an easy to read book, with chapters divided into very manageable portions. As a whole, the five volumes make up about 2000 pages.
This work by Washington Irving on the life of George Washington covers the life of the first president of the United States, shedding much light on the life and times of Washington. Thus far I have covered the period of Washington’s early life, through the war against the French and Indians (in which Washington played an important role) and into the American War Of Independence (in which Washington led the fledgling nation’s army against the British). This biographical work seems to be an excellent life of George Washington, but also provides an insight into the players and the history of the times.
In short, this five volume work on Washington is excellent and I would highly recommend reading the entire work on an important person in, and period of, American history. The work is available at the Internet Archive and I have links to the five volumes on my website at:
I have just finished watching the mini series ‘John Adams,’ starring Paul Giamatti as John Adams and Laura Linney as Abigail Adams. I found the mini series to be difficult to watch, as it was hardly brilliant drama despite the rhetoric on the DVD case. Not being American was perhaps a reason for my lack of enthusiasm for the mini series. I found it to be a disappointment as a viewing spectacle. But how true to the man and to history was the mini series? This is a question that now has my attention – for the portrayal of John Adams in the production was hardly that of a man to be admired.
Adams comes across as a self-centred, vain glorious man, with poor people skills and a terrible father and husband. He appears to seek his own advancement to the expense of those about him and also to be full of envy and petty jealousy. He also appears to be a somewhat poor diplomat and politician overall – even though he held the greatest office in the United States, as second president following that of George Washington.
So now I come to the book on which this mini series was based, ‘John Adams,’ by David McCullough. I am now going to read this book and see just how true to the book and actual events the mini series achieved. I find it difficult to believe that Adams could have been the way he was protrayed in the film – now I will seek out the truth for myself.