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Don't Know Much About the American Presidents | [Kenneth C. Davis]

Don't Know Much About the American Presidents

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Kenneth C. Davis (P)2012 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (59 )
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4.1 (54 )
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4.1 (53 )
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Performance
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  •  
    RobLokkesmoe Carrollton, TX, United States 10-29-12
    RobLokkesmoe Carrollton, TX, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Very informative. Excellent"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Don't Know Much About the American Presidents to be better than the print version?

    This book will tell you everything you want to know about each President. Very very informative. Details details details!


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

    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.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Anchorage, ALASKA, United States 03-19-13
    Eric Anchorage, ALASKA, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Truely a must have for any history buffs"
    What did you love best about Don't Know Much About the American Presidents?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Didnt feel like a lecture, felt like a scolar teaching you all his wisdom.


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

    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


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

    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.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Mount Martha, Australia 12-08-12
    Ann Mount Martha, Australia 12-08-12
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    "Very informative"

    Enjoyable & informative. Improved my knowledge of POTUS considerably. Surprised with the rating for Jackson, A - was expecting C based upon the narrative.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud United States 10-14-13
    Saud United States 10-14-13 Member Since 2007

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    454
    ratings
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    "Thorough and unbiased"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Sunrise, FL, United States 10-06-13
    Alan Sunrise, FL, United States 10-06-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow starter but stick with it"

    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.

    .

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 03-02-14
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 03-02-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    83
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    "Easy crash course. I learned a lot"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin Swihart Waynesburg, Ohio United States 05-29-13
    Justin Swihart Waynesburg, Ohio United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too Biased"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'm not sure yet.


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

    Hearing the narrators gives me a completely different perspective because they pronounce words more fluidly then me.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Kenneth C. Davis’s life?

    No Comment


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • Sam
    Grimsby, United Kingdom
    10/26/12
    Overall
    "stunning..."

    everything u could ever want to know. fabulous from start to finish!!! a long book but well worth your time

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • I.F.Coyle
    Bolton, United Kingdom
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • H. L. Mason
    Spain
    6/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "VERY WORTHWHILE"
    What did you like most about Don't Know Much About the American Presidents?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    FDR for his almost unrivaled breadth of vision and statesmanship .


    Did the narrators do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    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.


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

    No - it was far too long and too much to assimilate in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Bowers Gifford, United Kingdom
    12/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enjoyable!"
    Where does Don't Know Much About the American Presidents rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Don't Know Much About the American Presidents?

    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.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I really enjoyed learning more about Abraham Lincoln and some of the background to the slaves being freed.


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

    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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