Imperfect Presidents: Tales of Misadventure and Triumph

( 1 )

Overview

In this clever portrait of the American presidency, Jim Cullen takes ten presidents down from their pedestals by examining key missteps in their careers—and how they transcended them. Examples include Abraham Lincoln smearing a preacher and rediscovering his religious vision in emancipating slaves; Lyndon Johnson's electoral fraud in his 1948 Senate race and his role in the signing of the Voting Rights Act; and Ronald Reagan's subversion of the Constitution in the Iran-Contra affair and affirmation of world peace...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (26) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $6.61   
  • Used (15) from $1.99   
Imperfect Presidents: Tales of Presidential Misadventure and Triumph

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

In this clever portrait of the American presidency, Jim Cullen takes ten presidents down from their pedestals by examining key missteps in their careers—and how they transcended them. Examples include Abraham Lincoln smearing a preacher and rediscovering his religious vision in emancipating slaves; Lyndon Johnson's electoral fraud in his 1948 Senate race and his role in the signing of the Voting Rights Act; and Ronald Reagan's subversion of the Constitution in the Iran-Contra affair and affirmation of world peace in helping bring about the end of the Cold War. Targeting Republicans and Democrats alike, Cullen's insights are surprisingly timely and hugely entertaining.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jim Cullen has dared to write an old-fashioned book about the virtues of American presidents. But instead of wooden tales about cherry trees and log cabins, he has given us complex portraits of flawed men who performed acts of moral courage at critical moments in the nation's history. Imperfect Presidents invites us to admire these leaders—and even to find lessons in their stories—without indulging in hero-worship."—Steven Biel, Executive Director, Humanities Center, Harvard University, and author of American Gothic: A Life of America's Most Famous Painting

"Cullen, one of America's most versatile historians, displays his usual acumen with a topic that will never go out of fashion. The ways that our presidents invariably disappoint us, and the more interesting ways that they occasionally rebound from that disappointment, combine to make this a deeply satisfying read about the world's most powerful office. Great history for specialists and non-specialists alike." —Ted Widmer, former Clinton speech writer and Director and Librarian, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University

"Wise and often moving." —Fredric Smoler, AmericanHeritage.com

"In Imperfect Presidents, Jim Cullen offers a highly readable look at 11 commanders-in-chief and how they overcame major mistakes... With keen analysis and telling anecdotes culled from presidential biographies, Cullen proves that even the most revered presidents weren't saints... Cullen doesn't shy away from balanced appraisals of recent leaders and actions still deemed controversial."

—Gary Budzak, The Columbus Dispatch

Kirkus Reviews
Eleven presidents examined closely for their most salient errors-but all viewed within the contexts of their personal histories and their times. Cullen, who has previously held forth on U.S. history (The American Dream, 2003) and popular culture (Born in the U.S.A., 1997), begins and ends with bite-sized essays on, respectively, the president we want and the president we need. In between are some of both. All 11 of them have human weaknesses-sometimes endearing, sometimes debilitating-that contributed to their successes and failures. If the author can overstate his case (was George Washington's fumbling with his eyeglasses in 1783 as consequential as Cullen argues?), he can also present complex events with lucidity. John Quincy Adams may have been an ineffectual president, but his firm anti-slavery positions in the House were pivotal. Chester A. Arthur betrayed political allies to become vice president. FDR tried to alter the structure of the Supreme Court. LBJ played fast-and-loose with election laws in his first campaign for U.S. Senate. President Ford pardoned a crook. President Reagan traded arms for hostages and funded an illegal war (but we still liked him). Early in his first term, President Clinton (a man too randy for his or our good) unwisely pursued health-care reform, perhaps to appease his wife, who was furious about his serial infidelities. And the current President Bush has, so far, committed two egregious errors: invading Iraq, and failing to respond effectively to Hurricane Katrina. The author is an amiable and informed companion, though he sometimes loses track of what he's said. He describes JFK as "an empty suit," then, near the end, declares, "It is not possible toelect an empty suit President of the United States . . ." He admires Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln but calls George W. Bush "among the worst" of all presidents. Old rather than bold news, written with conviction.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230605787
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,001,239
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Cullen is the author of "Born in the USA" (Literary Guild Alternate), "The American Dream," and other books. He has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Sarah Lawrence College, and currently teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York, where he also serves on the Board of Trustees. He lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: The President We Want

• General Washington Fumbles His Glasses

• Former President Adams Can't Stop Gagging

• Former Congressman Lincoln Stubs His Toe

• "Gentleman Boss" Arthur Bites the Hand that Feeds Him

• Young Dude Roosevelt Makes a Grand Entrance

• Less-Than-Frank Roosevelt Takes a Stand—on Crutches

• "Landslide Lyndon" Destroys His Party

• Jerry Ford Pardons a Crook

• "Slick Willie" Gives Newt the Slip

• President Bush Fumbles and Invasion * Conclusion: The President We Need

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 24, 2013

    Interesting

    I enjoyed the book, but found little I had not already read about the former President's of US.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)