Brian Lamb, Susan Swain, Douglas Brinkley – introduction, Richard Norton Smith – introduction – The Presidents


The complete rankings of our best – and worst – presidents, based on C-SPAN’s much-cited Historians Surveys of Presidential Leadership.

Over a period of decades, C-SPAN has surveyed leading historians on the best and worst of America’s presidents across a variety of categories – their ability to persuade the public, their leadership skills, the moral authority, and more. The crucible of the presidency has forged some of the very best and very worst leaders in our national history, along with much in between.

Based on interviews conducted over the years with a variety of presidential biographers, this book provides not just a complete ranking of our presidents, but stories and analyses that capture the character of the men who held the office. From Abraham Lincoln’s political savvy and rhetorical gifts to James Buchanan’s indecisiveness, this book teaches much about what makes a great leader – and what does not.

As America looks ahead to our next election, this book offers perspective and criteria that may help us choose our next leader wisely.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

Author: Brian Lamb, Susan Swain, Douglas Brinkley – introduction, Richard Norton Smith – introduction
Narrator: Gary Tiedemann, Grace Angela Henry
Duration: 19 hours 15 minutes
Released: 19 Jan 2010
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Language: English

User Review:

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The author implies in his title that he is going to answer the question: Why do the Greeks matter? And then he doesn’t really answer it directly. For that reason, I was disappointed with the book.

In the Introduction, he writes, “. . . I assemble what pieces there are, contrast and compare, and try to remain in their presence . . . and then I try to communicate these sensations to my reader. So you will find in this book no breakthrough discoveries, no cutting edge scholarship, just, if I have succeeded, the feelings and perceptions of another age.”

And that is exactly what you get. In my opinion, the worst thing about the book is the title.

That being said . . . he organizes his material in an interesting way: warrior (the illiad), wanderer (the odyssey), poet (other poetry), politician (drama), philosophy, and art & architecture. He begins each section with a myth that he feels embodies the points he wants to illustrate. Then he shows his reader how each artform is a reflection of the ancient greeks and their culture. It’s all broadbrush strokes, very impressionistic.

It’s a review of everything you already know. It’s just a new way of organizing it. I think his quote from the Introduction says it all.

It is very well written, and it is very interesting. I was just looking for something with bullet points. There were no bullet points in this book.