For more than 20 years since his New York Times best-seller Don't Know Much About History first appeared, Davis has shown that Americans don't hate history, just the dull version dished out in school.
Now Davis turns his attention to what is arguably the most important and most fascinating subject in American history: our presidents. From the heated debates over executive powers through the curious election of George Washington in 1789 and, for more than 200 years, up through the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the presidency has been at the heart of American history. From the low lights to the bright lights, from the intellectuals to the disasters, from the memorable to the forgettable and forgotten, Davis tells all the stories. He uses his entertaining question-and-answer style to chart the history of the presidency itself as well as debunk the myths of America's leaders and recount the real stories of these very real people.
For history buffs and history-phobes alike, this entertaining audiobook is packed with memorable facts that will change your understanding of the highest office in the land and the men who have occupied it.
©2012 Kenneth C. Davis (P)2012 Random House Audio
This book will tell you everything you want to know about each President. Very very informative. Details details details!
Not a book you can listen to in one sitting. I found it best to listen about one President at a time, take a break, and then move on to the next.
Was able to see that times may change but situations dont, we will always have a good economy then bad economy no matter the era and same for presidents.
Didnt feel like a lecture, felt like a scolar teaching you all his wisdom.
So many small details you would miss if you read it where some one reading it to you you can comprehend those details all that much better
No this is a book you listen to one or two presidents in one sitting then take a break and come back. Gives you great breaking points.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This book follows a basic structure of documenting the life and presidency of each of the United States presidents from George Washington to Barak Obama, as well as their qualifications, associations, achievements and special notes, culminating in a final grade for each president. It was an excellent journey across American history.
Enjoyable & informative. Improved my knowledge of POTUS considerably. Surprised with the rating for Jackson, A - was expecting C based upon the narrative.
Good book and recommended despite its faults.
1) Book slanted to the left. The author obviously has a dislike for Regan. Additionally, Barbara Bush gets a better review then George H W Bush
2) Each president is divided into 4 sections with each section getting a different narrator.This style does take a little getting used to.
3) Book covers all presidents up to and including Bill Clinton. Would have been interesting the review on Bush #43.
I liked the brief discussion of events in each administration.I did not like the left leaning comments that increased for recent presidents.
I liked the use of several narrators
He should have stated up front his political bias. Everyone has one..I think all Journalists and "historians" should place their political bias in plain view up front. Then what they say can be more easily understood
This book is exactly what you would expect it to be. Easy listening. A nice little chunk on each president, and the occasional factoid about the office of the presidency. Nothing edgy or controversial, no strong opinions, just basically the general common wisdom on each one. Washington, Lincoln and FDR get top honors, as everyone would expect. James Buchanan and GWB get roasted. Reagan gets the predictable over rating, with Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton taking a backseat. Andrew Jackson is an excellent story line, but like Reagan he gets an A despite having plenty of downside. Still, these are pretty mainstream views and the author goes decidedly mainstream in his assessments. If you expect that going in, there will be no disappointments. Arthur Morey isn't a showy narrator, but the man has talent. He is a master of enunciation, emphasis, cadence, and clarity. Steady all the way, and never distracts. I've heard him narrate a ton of books and he's one of my very favorites. Overall, this material is excellent in the sense that it is accessible and well packaged. A sharp, professional production that is easy to listen to no matter what your politics are. Informative, but also fun.
I would recommend anybody to any friend because I believe the more you read the more you will learn. So, yes I would recommend this book to a friend.
I'm not sure yet.
Hearing the narrators gives me a completely different perspective because they pronounce words more fluidly then me.
The reason why I say this book is way to biased is because of the grading scale the author uses. Why couldn't he just present the facts and let the reader grade the presidencies? He gave A+'s to every president who abused their powers and expanded more government. But gave C's and below to every president who believed more in limited government.
This book, while filled with facinating material contains too many charts and other visual cues to translate well into audio format. Reading charts aloud doesn't quite convey the spatial organization evident when the chart is viewed, it comes thru sounding like a very dull list. These lists cause regular breaks in the narrative analysis disrupting the flow of information. I recommend getting this book in bound paper or on Kindle, it would be much clearer.
As an author myself, dyslexic, and ADD, I need something that grabs me. Non-fiction on things of interest to me, educates, & titillates.
Engaging, easy on the ears and kept it interesting. Great job!
YES! I will listen to it again.
I think this could be a great book for teaching students about History and Politics.
So well done. Anyone who likes American history is enjoy this book.
everything u could ever want to know. fabulous from start to finish!!! a long book but well worth your time
"A really good "Beginner's Guide""
I developed an interest in United States Presidents having watched the excellent drama-doc "John Adams" a few years ago, so I was a bit disappointed that my he only got a C in Mr Davis' somewhat erratic scoring system, but on the whole I found this narrative very informative.
Details did somewhat jar: pronouncing Andrew Jackson a racist who earned his fame by his genocidal attacks on native-Americans and then giving him an A (or was it an A+) seems a tad random, and to go through the entire gamut of 20th Century Presidents without even a mention of that eminence grise for many of them, J.Edgar Hoover also seems a little odd.
However, I do know more about all American Presidents than I did. The presentation was good (although the repetitive if informative lists did not lend itself to an audio-book format).
I can definitely recommend to the novice student of the topic.
"intersting but doesnt really work very well in"
interesting to hear how they ran their office terms... history at the time....
good book works better in print.
they narrators were good.
I think an email of tables and dates would be better than reading out lists.
"Interesting way to learn about US history"
This is an interesting audiobook which essentially explores US history via the mechanism of the presidency in three sections - the first looks at the creation of the office, the second the presidents themselves and the third the future of the office.
The second section forms the bulk of the book. Each chapter in it deals with a different president and follows a set format of key information, a discussion on the presidents life and time in office and then a review of milestones and a grading of between A to F.
The book is read well by the main narrator, although one of the supporting cast (who appears only momentarily to 'ask' an FAQ) is periodically annoying. The audiobook also really should have done away (or at least reduced) the milestone review, which is essentially a long list being read out.
As for content - the book is well written and interesting and you will definitely come away with a new view of US history. If I had a criticism then it would be that the first section (which is very interesting) is over too quickly and that the second section spends proportionally longer on the modern presidents. The grading system is also a bit random - really most presidents are 'A' or 'F' (or 'incomplete') with the 'B' and 'C' grades being very thin on the ground...
This is rather carping though, as overall the book is very good. If you have an interest in US history, then I would definitely give it a go.
Extremely well organized and revealing potted history of American Presidents. Each president receives a very well chosen time allotment so that nobody ever outstays his welcome. Notwithstanding its length, it is very concise and impartial and most informative.
FDR for his almost unrivaled breadth of vision and statesmanship .
No - the performances were the weakest part of the enterprise. The male readers were either very dry and husky or unsuitably coarse without being in any way "presidential". The only female contribution was even worse - gabbling as fast as she could so as at times to be almost incoherent.
No - it was far too long and too much to assimilate in one sitting.
Audible dropped the ball on this one as far as performance is concerned. I fail to understand why ANY of the readers was considered acceptable, let alone the whole group.
As an avid podcast listener and occasional Kindle reader this is my first audio book experience. I've found that listening to anything whilst doing menial day to day activities is very enjoyable and my first audio book was no different. I found the structure and format, although repetitive easy to understand and listen to and helped the book flow very easily. The 24-25 hours passed by really quickly and I'm now hooked on Audible!
As the structure of the book is pretty much the same for each president, there were not any stand out moments that I can recollect. However, the book provides an excellent 'taster' of each president so and picks out the key moments that will enable you to go off and read a biography of those who are of most interest. I've previously read Bill Clintons autobiography and after listening to this would like to go back in time and listen and learn in more detail about some of the earlier presidents.
I really enjoyed learning more about Abraham Lincoln and some of the background to the slaves being freed.
I listened to it over 2-3 days. I'm used to listening to lots of podcasts so 20-30 hours over a few days is not unusual for me. Not in one sitting though!
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