Great book about a president I knew virtually nothing about.Great story and a solid performance. I gained a great deal of respect and admiration for Coolidge. It's odd that he is not better known.
Yes...for reading, it is better than print. However, Ms Shlaes' references are so voluminous at the end of her book that I would want that in print.
Its a toss up between Grace Coolidge, Calvin's wife and Andrew Mellon, who worked so long and so hard with Calvin on reducing the public debt and reducing taxes that perhaps he qualified as Cal's wife as well...lol
I think his rendition of the dour John Coolidge (the father, not the son) was really well done.
If I had the time, yes!
I was astounded as to the amount of material went into the research and development of this book! The end of the book is nearly a half an hour of Mr Aselford reading all of the extensive papers and volumes and people that were researched for this book. Ms. Shlaes is one of the first faculty I have encountered that has her subject coming out of her very pores...she is one hell of a passionate advocate for Coolidge and his principles. Amazing woman.
This book is extremely well written by Amity Shlaes. Calvin Coolidge himself would have appreciated her economically, yet comprehensively, covering her subject. She is able to entertainingly tell the Coolidge story. In these days of profligate government spending and runaway political rhetoric, it helps to appreciate Coolidge's respect for the individual's rights, money, liberty and dignity.
This telling of Coolidge's life, career, presidency, and after is tonic for the times. This was a principled individual who sought to steer in a sensible way, and in small ways. Well-written, well-researched, and well-read. The book flows and feels complete. There were aspects of the era I missed in this book, though, too. Prohibition is hardly mentioned among other large influences and events of the era. But overall, excellent.
This is a must-listen if you want to understand America in the era between 1870 and the early 1930s - rural New England agrarian life, college in that era, the simplicity of transportation, politics, the rise of labor unions, immigration controversy, back-room politicking, the growth of means of communication and flight and the pressures of the presidency. I listened intently - even increasing the speed slightly to absorb the material more quickly - and probably will relisten in a year or two to reinforce the information.
The author is a master storyteller. She brings the reader into Coolidge's mind as he faces the challenges of a politician - state legislator, state senator, governor, VP and president - during the first three decades of the 20th century. We understand why he stood up against the striking Boston Police Department and the undercurrent of radicalism in union activity, we appreciate why he made the political moves that he made when he made them and we appreciate the challenges that he faced as president.
The memories that I'll retain most are the descriptions of the multiple meetings between President Coolidge and General Lord, as they pore over the budget, eliminating trivial items and finding less costly alternatives that save a million dollars here or $50,000 there. Coolidge respected the people's money and saw himself as its steward in a way that no modern politician of either party emulates. Today, politicians of both parties throw around a hundred billion dollars like it's money falling from heaven. Coolidge tossed quarters like they were manhole covers.
I appreciated the description of the strain that the presidency and personal losses (the Colonel, Calvin Jr.) placed on the Coolidge marraige, and how the President tried to repair it in the later stages of his term, when the strain was greatest. The strain appears to have repaired itself fairly quickly after the weight of the presidency - the President's obligations and time commitments, which prevented his participation in many activities, including John's graduations - were lifted and the couple returned to Northampton.
High school and college students rarely learn much history between the end of the War of Northern Aggression and the beginning of the Second World War. I'm making a conscious effort (aided largely by audible.com) to learn more about this era - from "The President is a Sick Man" to "The Destiny of the Republic" and "The President and the Assassin" - and soon "The Bully Pulpit" or "The River of Doubt." These biographies all deliver an excellent description of the United States during my great-great-grandfather's lifetime.
Amity Shlaes captures who Calvin Coolidge was and brings him and his wife to life. This determined man did what no President before or after has ever done - reduce the debt (by almost a third!). The denizens of Washington DC hated him because he did what they said was impossible.
A good listen and performance; it is worth your time.
Yes, I would. The narrator and story are very good, and the book are not
The death of Harding, and the reactions of the country and of Coolidges'
family are moving.
The true meaning of each and every sentence. His inflexion is very important
to the story.
Has anyone else noticed that in Chapter 6 with an Hour and 50 minutes left in the chapter, that there is a reference to the "Cameras of Fox News" rolling? Was this a joke played by the Narrator?
It's hard to write an interesting biography of a dull person. One approach is to do a "Life and Times" which would have worked especially well her, because the events of the 1920's are fascinating in themselves. I was left with no idea whatsoever why Calvin Coolidge wanted to be president, except, perhaps, to shave a few nickles off the national debt through what is now called supply-side economics. I am curious why Amity Shlaes thought this biography worth writing.
I've learned that I prefer biographies of great, or at least interesting, people. A president is not worth an exhaustive biography simply because our political system happened to cough him up.
I believe this was my first experience with Terence Aselford. His reading was excellent.
I'm an insomniac, and the book succeeded in putting me to sleep several times.
1) I had a higher opinion of Calvin Coolidge before I listened to this than I do now.
2) I would suggest avoiding biographies of Franklin Pierce as well.
Coolidge is clearly a model president for this author, but he is not as interesting a character as those who preceded him, Wilson and Roosevelt for example, nor those who followed him - Hoover and another Roosevelt. Coolidge mainly tended to the budget and reduced the debt, but sometimes that's the best thing a government can do.