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Coolidge | [Amity Shlaes]

Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls, and history has remembered the decade in which he served as an extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes provides a fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president, showing that the mid-1920s was in fact a triumphant period that established our modern way of life: The nation electrified, Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a surplus.
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Publisher's Summary

Calvin Coolidge, president from 1923 to 1929, never rated highly in polls, and history has remembered the decade in which he served as an extravagant period predating the Great Depression. Now Amity Shlaes provides a fresh look at the 1920s and its elusive president, showing that the mid-1920s was in fact a triumphant period that established our modern way of life: The nation electrified, Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a surplus.

Coolidge is an eye-opening biography of the little-known president behind that era of remarkable growth and national optimism. Coolidge's trademark discipline and composure, Shlaes reveals, represented not weakness but strength, and he proved unafraid to take on the divisive issues of this crucial period: reining in public-sector unions, unrelentingly curtailing spending, and rejecting funding for new interest groups. He reduced the federal budget even as the economy grew, wages rose, taxes fell, and unemployment dropped.

In this magisterial biography, Amity Shlaes captures the remarkable story of Calvin Coolidge and the decade of extraordinary prosperity that grew from his leadership.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2013 Amity Shlaes (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

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  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 02-19-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 02-19-13

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Silent Cal"

    Amity Shlaes has produced a scholarly look at Calvin Coolidge. It is well documented but not a dry boring story that some scholars write. The book came along at a perfect time for me as I had Coolidge on my list of people to read about in 2013. The book covers Coolidge from birth to death. He was born on July 4 1972 in Plymouth Notch Vermont and died there on January 5 1933. The Coolidge family was one of the founding families of Vermont and had the frugal hard working values of New England. He went to Amherst College and met a group of men that he maintain a lifetime friendship and appointed some to government positions. For example I was surprise to learn that Dwight Morrow was an Amherst buddy of Coolidge and he appointed him to the study the role of aviation and then appointed him Ambassador to Mexico. Morrow was the father of Anne Morrow who married Charles Lindbergh. I have a book in my wish list on Anne Morrow so I was pleased with the connection. I love it when one book provides information to another I am to read. Coolidge chose to "Read the Law" rather than go to law school. Then opened up his own practice. He was active in politics and was elected to local, then state positions. He married Grace Anna Goodhue in 1905 and she was outgoing and he was shy so she was a great first lady. She was a teacher at a school for the deaf and a good friend of Elizabeth Reeve Cutter who married Dwight Morrow. When He was governor of Massachusetts he had to deal with the Boston police strike in 1919. When president he not only balanced the budget he had a surplus which he used to pay down the national debt. He had to battle Congress as they wanted to spend the money. But his basic philosophy was to leave business alone and unregulated and all would be fine. He thought aviation was the future but thought that commercial aviation should lead the way not the military. The press noted he was key to healing the country after the scandal of Harding's presidency. I will not give away any of the story you are going to enjoy reading how and why he handled all the above plus more. Terrence Aselford did an adequate job narrating the book.

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Tacoma, WA USA 02-28-13
    Amazon Customer Tacoma, WA USA 02-28-13
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    "Memorable Biography of a Forgotten President"
    What did you love best about Coolidge?

    This book skillfully captures Coolidge as an individual as well as providing a good account of the history of the time and Coolidge's political and philosophical thought. It is not hero worship, and the author takes care to present those in opposition to Coolidge in a fair minded way that avoids demonizing.

    I finished the book having a better understanding of the man, the nation, and the history of the time than when I began.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I have a new favorite President. If only the politicians of our age were of a similar mind to Coolidge.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I found myself listening to 2-3 hour intervals, but the narration style demands attention. If I was even a little distracted, the narration was unable to demand by attention and draw me back in.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph MECHANICSVILLE, VA, United States 03-11-13
    Joseph MECHANICSVILLE, VA, United States 03-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "We could use a man like Calvin Coolidge again"
    What did you love best about Coolidge?

    I loved the way Shlaes documented the influences and experiences that made Coolidge the honorable man he was. The book, a product of extraordinary research, meticulously depicts both subtle and substantial events throughout the life of our 30th president while also painting a picture of life in America during that era.
    Coolidge's experience as a legislator and Commonwealth Senate President enabled him, as POTUS, to lead and work with congress to enact legislation which respected Federalism and led to extreme prosperity.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning that Coolidge was so focused on reducing federal spending that he and Budget Bureau Director General Lord met frequently and regularly to actually shrink the federal budget.


    Any additional comments?

    Another great book from Shlaes!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles M. Hughes 04-18-13 Member Since 2005
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    "My new favorite president"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Fairfield, CA, United States 04-12-13
    Edward Fairfield, CA, United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Best Researched Bio I Have Ever Read"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Coolidge to be better than the print version?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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


    Which character – as performed by Terence Aselford – was your favorite?

    I think his rendition of the dour John Coolidge (the father, not the son) was really well done.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If I had the time, yes!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Ann Olson Montana 03-18-13
    Lee Ann Olson Montana 03-18-13
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    "We need another Coolidage"
    Where does Coolidge rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a great biography. One point that was week was how bad the recession was that he inherited from Wilson, it was far worse than what Obama inherited. Yet Harding and Coolidge turned things around to a point that we had the roaring 20's. Then he looked at what Hoover was doing and said - stock market is going to crash, and it did. He was a man of few words, but his actions meant far more.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Chatsworth, Georgia, United States 04-12-13
    Amazon Customer Chatsworth, Georgia, United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2011

    Onewanderer

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    "History Comes Alive - A Great Listen"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fred Irvine, Ca, United States 03-18-13
    Fred Irvine, Ca, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "informative and enjoyable"
    Would you listen to Coolidge again? Why?

    Perhaps a year from now, lot of detail that could be missed the first time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Coolidge?

    his life long belief that it is crucial to live within your means


    What does Terence Aselford bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    the detail is more easily absorbed


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    common sense


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 10-26-13
    David Petry Santa Barbara, CA USA 10-26-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Hidden gem"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas anaheim hills, CA, United States 10-19-13
    Douglas anaheim hills, CA, United States 10-19-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Still Waters Run Deep"
    What made the experience of listening to Coolidge the most enjoyable?

    I like the insight this book gave into this rather unknown President. His personality was soft spoken and a man of few words. The book shows these traits worked for Coolidge because it was who he was and they were a reflection of his true personality. In an age of politics were rhetoric is perceived as the key to success, this president was comfortable in his own frugal, quite personality. He also had many successes including balancing the budget and he was a pure economist so he cut, cut, cut national spending. He was certainly also a pure Republican whether that is good bad or otherwise. It was interesting how he was so cost conscious that he even cut the costs of running the actual White House in terms of expenses for food, staff and entertainment. Interestingly he chose not to run for a second term which seems to be because of the stress of the job. He loved good Cuban cigars but I am sure he would probably never have spent the money on them unless they were given to him. He was a devoted husband and father and was without political controversy. Quietly refreshing.


    What other book might you compare Coolidge to and why?

    I suppose the closest comparison would be "Wilson" but I did like Wilson better. It is not near as good as John McCullough's Adams but that is not a reflection on the author or narrator as much as it is on the subject since Adams was such a powerful and monumental person in time.


    Have you listened to any of Terence Aselford’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No first time that I can recall.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reaction but it was insightful, interesting and I was glad I purchased the book.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoy biographies, especially political biographies this is a good book. For example, there are multiple books on Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy etc. but this is sort of refreshing because it is about a president who only ran for one term and is not all that well known in terms of his personality and accomplishments. I will listen to the book again sometime down the road.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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