The American Presidents in 100 Facts by Jem Duducu
|The American Presidents in 100 Facts by Jem Duducu
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: A gentle meander through American history in relation to its presidents. It's good to read through, or to dip into and either way it's enlightening and even handed.
|Date: October 2016
|External links: Author's website
At a time when the US Presidential election is fielding at least one candidate you'd cross the road to avoid (and I'm not saying which one) it's useful to look back over the forty four presidents who have gone before them. It's surprising how many of them have been lawyers, soldiers and career politicians, but there have also been school teachers, journalists, Hollywood actors, professors, postmasters and even a peanut farmer. Gone are the early days when you could almost fall into the presidency accidentally - now you need a massive war chest if you're to get to election day.
It's a gentle trip through American history by reference to the presidents. Jem Duducu is very even handed and is scrupulous in pointing out the strengths as well as the weaknesses - even for the presidents we love to hate, or the ones we've idolised. Clinton and Trump might care to consider that eight of the forty four presidents to date have died in office - that's a higher death rate than for American soldiers in World War II - particularly as both of them are at the upper end of the age range for a first-time president.
No 'fact' is more than a couple of pages long and some take up less than one page. It's perhaps misleading (but I was happy to be misled) to call each entry 'a fact' as what you get is a topic which is then elaborated upon with sufficient facts to shed light on the issue. The language is clear and the information accessible to the vast majority of readers and if you're looking for a gentle introduction to a history of the United States then you could do worse than start with this book. I'd have liked a bibliography to suggest some further reading - and basic as it might sound - a chronological list of the presidents, but that's me being picky.
It's a perfect book to take out and about with you for those waiting room moments. It's fine to read right through - and doesn't get tedious as do so many books of a similar format - or you could dip into it at random. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For a more detailed look at some of the presidents, we can recommend American Caesars: Lives of the US Presidents, from Franklin D Roosevelt to George W Bush by Nigel Hamilton. For more from Jem Duducu have a look at Forgotten History: Unbelievable Moments from the Past. You might also appreciate The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick.
You can read more book reviews or buy The American Presidents in 100 Facts by Jem Duducu at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The American Presidents in 100 Facts by Jem Duducu at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.