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Coolidge af Amity Shlaes

Coolidge (udgave 2014)

af Amity Shlaes (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
5631731,397 (3.75)22
A brilliant and provocative reexamination of America's thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge, and the decade of unparalleled growth that the nation enjoyed under his leadership.
Forfattere:Amity Shlaes (Forfatter)
Info:Harper Perennial (2014), Edition: Reprint, 592 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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Coolidge af Amity Shlaes


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Calvin Coolidge is a president who has been defined not by the times in which he lived but in the ones which followed -- specifically the Great Depression, for which he has received a share of the blame. Amity Shlaes's goal, however, is not to bury Coolidge but to praise him by arguing that his policies promote national prosperity through austerity. Yet her argument relies on a good deal of post hoc fallacy that is often contradicted by the very facts she cites (such as her continual reference to growth and prosperity that predated the tax cuts and other measures championed by Coolidge which supposedly brought it about) and she resorts to outright falsehoods in an effort to cover up Coolidge's role in fostering the stock market bubble that burst after he left office.

Nor are these the only problems with her book. Shlaes's text is disappointingly sloppy, riddled with factual and even grammatical errors that suggest the book was a rushed effort. Better editing would have taken care of this, and possibly also cleaned up the morass of details with which she loves to inundate the readers but which only serve to bog them down in her text. Readers seeking to learn more about Coolidge would be well advised to turn to Robert Sobel's [b:Coolidge: An American Enigma|860010|Coolidge An American Enigma|Robert Sobel|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387751417s/860010.jpg|845450], which in every way is superior to Shlaes's muddled effort. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
Tucked in between Woodrow Wilson and FDR were three presidents that are not usually given too much attention. Harding died in office leaving his vice president, Calvin Coolidge, to take over. Following Coolidge is Hoover, a great man, but remembered for Hoovervilles and the Great Depression.

Coolidge himself is a remarkable man and provides a very interesting biography. A great speaker and the first president to make a radio address, he was better known as "Silent Cal." The story goes that a dinner party a young woman sitting next to Coolidge challenged him that she could get him to say more than two words during the dinner party. At the end of the party, Coolidge looked at her and said, "You lose." Although considered a negative person, Coolidge was one of the most accessible presidents. Notes in the book tell of how many handshakes an hour Coolidge gave at events; an amazing amount when you break it down into shakes per minute. More than just a stuffed suit, Coolidge was photographed as in an Indian headdress, fly fishing gear, and dressed as a cowboy -- not what one would expect from a stiff New England Yankee.

Coolidge, economically seems to have been Reagan's role model. In economics, he looked to cut spending anyway he could. He lived a rather frugal life and applied that to his view of government spending. He thought of the government budget should be the same as a household budget. World War I created a massive amount of federal debt and it was his duty to fix it. As the governor of Massachuttes, he fought against strikers including the Boston Police department. He supported the Mellon Plan for tax cuts to increase revenue, and the plan worked. Coolidge managed to reduce the national debt and create a surplus. He fought hard to prevent the surplus from going into new spending programs. Coolidge also stayed out of state's business. States should handle their own problems. When The Great Mississippi floods hit Coolidge kept the federal government out of the relief effort. He made a personal donation and helped with fundraising, but there was no "FEMA" type response like today. He also kept out of the Sacco and Vanzetti case because he believed it was a state matter. Coolidge seems to be the proto-Reagan right down to problems with the (original) Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Of course, there are differences between the two men, but the similarities are surprising enough.

Shlaes writes an excellent biography of a little-known president. From his simple roots and unexpected accent to the presidency, Shlaes covers the details of the man's life and dispels the myth of a "do nothing" president. Clever, witty, steadfast, and quick to the point, Coolidge was much more than his current political image.

Thanks to Rachel at http://bookishlywitty.blogspot.com/ for the recommendation. Check out her site for other great reads and commentary.
( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
"A wonderful, well-written Coolidge biography. Research is excellent." 9/14/19
  pwaldrep | Sep 20, 2019 |
This fairly lengthy biography of US President Calvin Coolidge seemed to follow the pattern of Coolidge's life. There was a slow and methodical start, followed by a time of hard work and great purpose. Then there was a period of great activity and intensity (the presidency) and then the end.

Coolidge became vice president reluctantly, and president accidentally. He took office with several difficult issues looming large over the office of the president. The US war debt was enormous, and unfortunately, there were several scandals resulting from the rather loose administration of the Harding presidency. With great dedication and perseverance (qualities Coolidge had developed early in life) a new tax law was passed, spending was reduced and an incredible amount of war debt was payed off. He weathered the scandals of his predecessor and saw a time of great growth and prosperity. At the same time, Shlaes shows how the stage was set for the Great Depression and shows where all the major political players were situated in the late 1920's, before the downturn and the crash. It was interesting to learn more about the Kellogg-Briand treaty and how Coolidge and Kellogg managed to sneak that one through a Congress that had begun to discount Coolidge and treat him as irrelevant because he was not going to run again.
Some things I really liked - Coolidge is portrayed as a real person with his strengths and weaknesses. He and his family suffered great hardship during his time as president, including the death of their younger son, Calvin Jr. from a staph infection. It was interesting to note that within 20 years, penicillin would have been available. I also thought it was interesting to see how Hoover manipulated his way up to the top of the Republican party, as well as the fact that it seemed to be just as divided and flaky on platform as it is today.... (but I digress) It was also interesting to see how both spending and frugality could both play into economic troubles.
What I didn't like was that occasionally Shlaes would begin a story and sort of digress and never really get back to the story. It wasn't disruptive to the flow really, but sort of annoying.
Coolidge was ill at the end of his presidency. It may have been part of his decision not to run again, but he truly believed that it would not be in the best interest of the country for him to run again. He lived long enough to see his prediction of economic downturn come to pass, but he died in 1933, just at the beginning of FDR's presidency. ( )
  nittnut | Aug 30, 2018 |
Supposedly written to dispel the myth that Coolidge was a dull boring man.
It fails miserably. ( )
  jameshold | Jul 22, 2017 |
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A brilliant and provocative reexamination of America's thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge, and the decade of unparalleled growth that the nation enjoyed under his leadership.

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