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Silent Cal's Almanack: The Homespun Wit and Wisdom of Vermont's Calvin Coolidge

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    The "quiet" president who presided over the "Roaring 20s."

    Silent Cal's Almanack
    By David Pietrusza

    A review:

    "Restricted immigration is not an offensive but purely a defensive action. It is not adopted in criticism of others in the slightest degree, but solely for the purpose of protecting ourselves. We cast no aspersions on any race or creed, but we must remember that every object of our institutions of society and government will fail unless America be kept American."
    Ref: David Pietrusza, ed., Silent Cal's Almanack, (United States: David Pietrusza, 2008, p. 70.

    This was the straight-forward observation of an American President! But not from someone you would normally have suspected. These words are not tinged with racism or hate, but logic. These words were not exclusive, but inclusive-inclusive of a nation who welcomed industrious, hard-working immigrants, but wanted them to come through the front door.

    These were the words of "Silent" Calvin Coolidge as he accepted his party's nomination for President of the United States.

    This is but one example of the "homespun wit and wisdom" of our 30th President, a man who was famous for not saying a thing and doing very little as president in the most 'roaring' and prosperous period of our nation's history-the 1920s.

    In assembling the wide array of verbal and written gems uttered by the alleged "Silent Cal," the author, David Pietrusza had ripped the veil of obscurity from the false premise that our 30th President said very little. Quite to the contrary, his brilliant ability to employ economy of words while saying something surprisingly profound, enamored another future president who would be known as "the great communicator," President Ronald Reagan!

    Pietrusza makes note that Reagan, "replaced a portrait of Harry Truman that had hung in the Cabinet room with that of Silent Cal.Reagan wrote, '(Coolidge) had been badly treated by history. I've done considerable reading and researching on his presidency. He served his country well and accomplished much.'" (Ibid, p. 4)

    In fact, as I read the numerous, categorized quotes, selected addresses, and witticisms, I could actually hear the voice of Ronald Reagan, since similar values and the principled mindset of both men were so completely complimentary to each other.

    Pietrusza introduces us to the myth of Silent Cal as described by the Joe Klein of Coolidge's day, Walter Lippmann. And the author very quickly shatters that perception with a definition of Coolidge's political philosophy that was very much "Jeffersonian" in scope where government was 'limited' and the Constitution was the supreme law of the land.

    Following a brief "Biographical Portrait" that included some highlights of the Coolidge presidency, (such as the Immigration Act of 1924, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the release of the last victims of the Wilson Administration's unconstitutional Sedition Act of 1918), Pietrusza shares a few anecdotes that describe Coolidge's penchant for subtle wit and ingenious insight disguised in the brevity of his remarks.

    Then, the author/editor takes us on a journey through the mind of our "Eloquent 30th President" as he 'speaks' to us on a myriad topics of paramount import that reverberate with essential meaning-even today! The quotes cited range from short, 3-word quips to whole paragraphs, but always with the flavor of common sense.

    For example, Coolidge realized the gravity of responsibility the office of President held in the eyes of the public and t

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 13, 2010

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