Sunday, September 16, 2012

American Presidents in A NATION RISING

DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS by Kenneth C. Davis offers a broad overview of Presidential history and the Presidency itself, with insight into how the Constitution is interpreted, how succession played out, and how the emergence of money's influence over elections came to dominate the politics of today. Timelines of what happened during every President's term are given, along with answers to typical questions. Read by Arthur Morey, with help from others, the book is for anyone curious about how the Presidency evolved, as a foundation to guessing where it may be going. One thing is for certain: more politicians of our current generation are lawyers than in previous eras. Given the power and the perks, this may explain why term limits in Congress and the Senate are less likely to happen, and why most politician's Job #1 at getting into office is to get re-elected.

A NATION RISING, also by Kenneth C. Davis, has the subtitle "Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America's Hidden History." Covering the era of expansion into the West from 1800 to 1850, the book examines some of the least known yet significant people and events leading up to the California gold rush. It's a story of slave and Indian rebellions, forced marches, bloody clashes between Protestants and Catholic immigrants from Ireland, and how both public sentiment and the will of Presidents and pioneers like John C. Fremont played into the forming of the America we now know. Narrated by the always engaging Robertson Dean, the audiobook details a mutiny aboard the slave ship Creole, the "Bible riots" of Philadelphia, and the mission building which established San Francisco by unstoppable Papal crusaders who trekked across the hellish jungles of Panama in order to avoid the even more treacherous six month slog by wagon train. What emerges is a history brought into slightly sharper focus than what school textbooks gloss over. Dean's deep and mellow voice takes over after the author reads the foreword.

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