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In the Line of Fire: Presidents' Lives at Stake
     

In the Line of Fire: Presidents' Lives at Stake

by Judith St. George
 
The American presidency is the most powerful position in the world. It is also one of the most dangerous. In the two centuries since the office was established, four presidents have been assassinated: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John Kennedy. Seven other attempts have been made on the lives of the presidents. Award-winning author Judith St.

Overview

The American presidency is the most powerful position in the world. It is also one of the most dangerous. In the two centuries since the office was established, four presidents have been assassinated: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John Kennedy. Seven other attempts have been made on the lives of the presidents. Award-winning author Judith St. George examines each assassination, as well as the life and career of the president, the assassin's motivation, the policies of the newly sworn-in vice-president, and the effect each assassination had on the nation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The grim but compelling details surrounding the four successful and seven unsuccessful assassination attempts on the lives of American presidents are the focus of St. George's (Sacagawea) latest offering. Four chapters focus on the deaths of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy, with the most attention paid to suspenseful reenactments of their assassinations and death scenes, including information on the assassins, the vice-presidents who were thrust into the country's highest office and an analysis of the effects of each president's death on the country. Historical engravings illustrate the fatal encounters of the first three presidents, with photographs and illustrations of funeral scenes providing the somber note in McKinley's and Kennedy's chapters. While St. George never sensationalizes the deaths, the dramatic way in which she relates the events at times undercuts the gravity of the fact that actual human lives were lost (Kennedy's chapter retains the greatest immediacy). Perhaps most interesting of all is the fifth and final chapter, which includes brief sketches of botched or foiled assassination attempts against Andrew Jackson (whose assassin believed himself to be King Richard III of England), Theodore Roosevelt (who, rather than going to the hospital after being shot, gave a stump speech) and five other presidents. Since readers may be less familiar with these accounts, this last chapter will likely prove to be the most involving and revealing. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA - Voya Reviews
This attractive and straightforward volume recounts the interesting stories behind the assassinations of four United States presidents and the many other attempts foiled by luck or improved security. Written by a well-respected researcher and award-winning author of children's nonfiction titles, this work demonstrates St. George's ability to recreate tastefully tragic scenes from the past. The bravery of the victims and those around them is highlighted, appearing with an examination of the security measures and of the medical treatments that sometimes contributed to the politicians' deaths. The assassins and their motives are also examined. Surprisingly most of them had developing or existing mental problems in addition to radical political agendas. An interesting inclusion is the political aftermath of each assassination during the transfer of leadership to the vice president. Many well-known comparisons and coincidences are covered, including the eerie Kennedy/Lincoln similarities. Beginning with William Henry Harrison in 1840, every leader who presided in the twentieth year following has died in office. Ronald Reagan, who served in 1980, became the first president to defy this curse, although he was almost killed in an assault. The Kennedy conspiracy is nicely covered with several photos of America's most chronicled assassination. Illustrations accompany each story, including a photo of the folded text of a speech that, while in Theodore Roosevelt's pocket, deflected a bullet and prevented his death. This reference source is aimed at the upper elementary or middle school student. As a readable, high-interest primer for browsing or history reports, it is highly recommended. Index.Illus. Photos. Biblio. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Holiday House, Ages 12 to 15, 144p, $18.95. Reviewer: Kevin Beach
Library Journal - Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-An informative and readable account. The first of the two main sections concerns the four slain U.S. presidents as well as their respective assassins, and also discusses the effects of these fatal events on the country. Each chapter preface relays the day's events preceding the murder in a dramatic fashion. The second half concerns the assassination attempts on six presidents and their would-be assassins. St. George includes intriguing anecdotes such as the fact that Theodore Roosevelt's 50-page speech, folded into quarters and placed in his front pocket, lessened the bullet's impact and, consequently, saved his life. At times, the book reads like a People magazine article and sometimes lacks objectivity. For example, the author attributes the country's recovery after Kennedy's death solely to Mrs. Kennedy's "courage and grace." Furthermore, St. George gives credence to superstition by noting that Reagan is the first president elected in a year ending in zero to survive his term in office. Still, the facts presented are indisputable, and the author does not shy away from controversy as she includes the findings of the 1977 House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations, which stated that Kennedy "was probably killed as a result of a conspiracy." Nicely placed illustrations and photos add power to the text.-Laura Glaser, Euless Junior High School, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823414284
Publisher:
Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
920L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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