Hottest Heads of State: Volume One: The American Presidents

Hottest Heads of State: Volume One: The American Presidents

by J. D. Dobson, Kate Dobson

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Overview

TigerBeat for U.S. presidents—a tour of our nation’s history through its irresistible commanders-in-chief

Is there anything hotter than former U.S. presidents? Obviously, there is not. And yet, until now, there was no way to learn about these handsome and mysterious men that is funny, educational, and includes thoughtful analysis of which ones would make good boyfriends. Thankfully, Hottest Heads of State fills this void. Get to know each president intimately with an individual profile outlining his particular charms (or, in some cases, “charms”). Plus, inside you’ll find:

· GAMES including “Match the Mistress to her POTUS”
· QUIZZES like “Which President has a Secret Crush on You?” and “Can You Cover Up Watergate?”
· that POSTER of Rutherford B. Hayes you’ve always secretly wanted!

J. D. and Kate Dobson’s wickedly smart and refreshingly bipartisan debut is a spot-on parody of a teen magazine featuring such unlikely heartthrobs as Richard Nixon and William H. Taft. In the end, you’ll learn centuries’ worth of cocktail party-worthy trivia, and you’ll be slightly more prepared to take the AP U.S. History exam. You’ll also start tingling whenever you hear the name Herbert Hoover.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A near perfect nexus of political reporting, history, and hirsute hotness. I knew a classic was born reading the words, ‘You probably thought to yourself, ‘Boy, I’d like to be in a Grover Cleveland sandwich.’’” —Berkeley Breathed, Pulitzer-winning creator of “Bloom County”

"J.D. and Kate Dobson reveal the presidents’ little known charms and unusual quirks in their hysterical book."—Real Simple

“Combining biting satire with gleeful absurdity, this is a relentlessly funny, bipartisan exploration of America’s presidents that judges each as a potential partner.”—BookPage

"It's hilarious, but also surprisingly informative. If you ever need a crash course in the gold standard written à la Buzzfeed, the Dobsons are at your service."—RiverfrontTimes

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250139689
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

GEORGE WASHINGTON

1789–1797

We know what you're thinking: "Hey, who's the dreamboat in the wig?" Well, his name is George Washington, and that isn't a wig! It's his actual hair covered in powder, because why not? (OK, we can think of a few reasons why not.)

Now you're probably thinking, "I'm all about the wig hair, but tell me: Does he have any teeth?" And the answer is yes! But only in the sense that he bought someone else's teeth and wears them in his mouth. So if that's a deal breaker for you, you might as well stop reading here and move on to John Adams. Or — if we're being honest — you should just move directly to Thomas Jefferson.

But the main thing you should know about George Washington is that he is a guy with self-control. You're never going to have to listen to him talk about his boring feelings, because he keeps them pent up inside, just like therapists are always advising people to do. He hides his temper and his relentless ambition, all while projecting a carefully crafted persona that is cool, detached, and heavily dusted in powder. Basically, George Washington is the perfect man because he is really good at pretending to be the perfect man.

By now you're probably starting to quiver with desire. And that's OK — it's just your body's way of telling you that you have fallen in love with George Washington and all other men have been ruined for you. You might as well go ahead and hurl this book into the fire, along with all your romance novels and also your wedding ring.

IF YOU HAVEN'T HEARD OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, EH, THAT'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR YOU. THE ONLY THING YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW IS THAT HE'S THE MOST FAMOUS LAND SURVEYOR EVER.

Why You'll Love Him

He can dance. What Washington lacks in teeth, he makes up for in dance moves. (This is assuming that teeth and dance moves can be exchanged on a one-for-one basis. Go to a swap meet and see if you can trade dance moves for teeth, or vice versa, and report back to us.)

He enjoys interior decorating. Washington is the kind of guy who will absolutely watch HGTV with you. He's constantly updating his house to keep it looking fashionable, and he would probably be embarrassed to see how out-of-date it looks now. (Thanks for nothing, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association!)

His hands are gigantic. Just imagine those giant hands gripping your waist as Washington sweeps you across the dance floor, then pulls you in close to his muscular chest and whispers in your ear about an episode of Property Brothers he saw last night.

How to Win His Heart

* Be rich. Martha Dandridge Custis was one of the wealthiest widows in Virginia, and Washington proposed the third time he met her. Not to imply that Washington was only interested in her for her money, but ... actually, we can't think of how to finish this sentence.

* Be refined. Washington likes women who are classy and elegant. And you know what that means — no more picking your teeth with a folded dollar bill! That's just insult upon injury for George Washington.

* Don't let it bother you that he's in love with Sally Fairfax. If it's any consolation, most men would choose Sally Fairfax over you.

George Washington's Life in a Nutshell

1732

George Washington is born. Finally!

1733-48

Doesn't chop down any cherry trees.

1749

Lands a job as a surveyor. (Get it? "Lands"? Ugh, never mind.)

1754

Accidentally starts the French and Indian War. Oops!

1759

Marries Martha Dandridge Custis. Best man probably brings up the whole French and Indian War thing in his toast.

1759-75

Lives at Mount Vernon; works tirelessly to get it ready to be a popular tourist attraction in a couple hundred years.

1775

Appointed commander of the Continental army. Refuses to accept a salary, which is good because Congress probably wasn't going to pay him anyway.

1776

Famous crossing of the Delaware, in which Washington makes his employees work on Christmas Eve.

1777

Spends winter at Valley Forge. Troops won't shut up about how they don't have any shoes.

1781

Wins surrender from British at Yorktown, who then resentfully begin a multi-decade project to cultivate an accent that makes them sound smarter than the Americans.

1789

Is basically peer-pressured by the entire country into becoming president. Starting a proud American tradition, he borrows money to move to New York City.

1797

Retires from public life; gives a farewell address warning his country against doing all the things it will then proceed to do.

Heartbreak

As a teenager, George Washington fell for a woman named Sally Fairfax, and there's evidence that he carried a torch for her his entire life. Which is a pretty long time to carry a torch! We can only carry a torch for ten minutes or so before our arm gets tired and we have to rest it on top of a can of gasoline.

Washington met Sally because she was married to his best friend, which — for the record — is a great way to meet women. Sally was rich and classy, and Washington was anything but. So their romance was basically like the plot Of Notting Hill if, instead of getting together with Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant had channeled his sexual frustration into overthrowing the British government.

Favorite Pickup Line

"Hello, I am George Washington."

Vital Stats

Looks: 6

This is a guy who cares a lot about appearances and is willing to put some effort into looking good. Hence the ponytail.

Physique: 10

Washington has a muscular build and towered over the other Founding Fathers at around 6'2". That's the modern-day equivalent of being over 11' tall!

Charisma: 5

Here's a tip from George Washington for those of you who aren't naturally charismatic: Try to become the wealthiest landowner in America. There — now no one cares whether or not you're charismatic.

Generaling: 10

Washington is the only American commanding general to win a war against Great Britain. (So far.)

CHAPTER 2

JOHN ADAMS

1797–1801 | Federalist

Being a parent lets you experience the joy of loving a small, obstinate person. But why put yourself through the misery of having children when you've got America's second president, John Adams?

Adams looks like the kind of rosy-cheeked president you'd want to bounce on your knee and coo at. But don't be fooled! Hiding beneath that cherubic exterior is a steel-willed, unpleasant adult. His prickly, combative style alienated many of the Founding Fathers who would later have their faces on U.S. currency, like Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and — especially — Hamilton. The U.S. put Adams's face on currency too, but just on the dollar coin, which was basically Hamilton's way of telling Adams "screw you" from beyond the grave.

So is John Adams the man for you? Do you want him to "dump tea in your Boston Harbor," as the kids say? Let's take a closer look!

How to Win His Heart

* Be his cousin. Adams knew his wife Abigail since they were children, because they were cousins. So a good way to date John Adams is to be his cousin. Actually, this holds true for most of the presidents up until 1950 or so.

* Be his intellectual equal. Are you John Adams's intellectual equal? If you're not sure, try writing a constitution for Massachusetts and see how it comes out.

* Write him letters. Adams and his wife, Abigail, exchanged over 1,000 letters and saved them for their children to read. And that is how you punish children.

* Use magic. Adams's pen name when writing a constant stream of strident op-eds to Boston newspapers was "Humphrey Ploughjogger." So try going into the bathroom, turning out the light, looking in the mirror, and saying "Humphrey Ploughjogger" three times. Maybe John Adams will appear! Or maybe your spouse will say from the toilet, "What the hell are you doing?"

WE ASKED ... WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT?

"I think it was when I was writing an essay about Ben Franklin and George Washington, and I wrote, 'Franklin electrized him with his Rod.' And as soon as I'd written that line, I thought, 'Ugh, that sounds dirty.' But it was too late to change it. Because, you know, I was writing with a feather."

SCANDAL!

The most scandalous thing about Adams's presidency was the "XYZ Affair." What was the XYZ Affair, you ask? Well, take whatever you're imagining, make it ten times less saucy, and you're getting close. Think less "X" and "affair," and more "bribing the French government to sit down to peace talks."

Vital Stats

Looks: 1

John Adams is not exactly a heartthrob, unless you have very specific and unusual tastes. In which case, honestly, the world is your oyster.

Physique: 2

Adams's build was described as "corpulent," but not in a nice way.

Charisma: 4

In explaining why he shouldn't be the author of the Declaration of Independence, Adams said, "I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular." If we were ranking him on honesty he'd get a 10/10, but we are not.

Serving one term: 10

No one beats John Adams when it comes to serving one term.

CHAPTER 3

HOTTEST HEADS OF STATE EXPLAINS: The Electoral College

Like clockwork, every four years you have to pretend to know what the Electoral College is. Usually you're able to pull it off. But it's only a matter of time before you're asked to appear on a C-SPAN panel debating the pros and cons of the Electoral College, at which point you'll finally be exposed as a fraud. The time has come to buckle down, put on a pair of glasses that make you look smart, and learn once and for all about the Electoral College.

Okay, let's get down to brass tacks: Do I have to take the SATs to get into Electoral College?

It's not a college in that sense. It's a grouping or assembly, the same way "the American College of Surgeons" is a group of surgeons, or "Dartmouth College" is a group of people who couldn't get into Brown.

I am already confused. Is the Electoral College a group of electorals? Like, you have a flock of seagulls, or a herd of sheep, or a college of electorals?

No, but you're so close! It's a group of electors. Electors are the people who vote directly for presidential candidates.

Aha! I am one of the people who votes directly for presidential candidates. That means I'm already in the Electoral College, and I don't need to take the SATs!

That wasn't really a question, but we'll respond anyway. Unless you are one of the 538 presidential electors, you actually don't vote directly for a presidential candidate. Instead, you vote for the electors who are "pledged" to vote for that candidate. For instance, if you live in Missouri, your state gets 10 electors. When voters in Missouri go to the polls, they're technically voting for the 10 electors who have pledged to support their candidate when the Electoral College votes.

Well, that's all well and good, except that I don't live in Missouri.

It works the same way in every state. That's how the framers of the Constitution set it up.

I guess that's not too surprising, given the fact that during the colonial period everyone was drunk 24/7. But come on — why didn't they just set it up as a popular vote, like when my family periodically votes for "most popular child"?

There were a few reasons. They wanted to make sure presidents had to win support in a lot of different states, instead of just a handful of the most populous ones. And the smaller states insisted on getting a disproportionate say in things, as a condition of joining the Union. Just as the Senate gives states with small populations a disproportionate say in the legislature, the Electoral College gives them a disproportionate say in electing the president.

That seems ... fair? Well, maybe fair isn't the right word. Let's say "crafty."

Also, the slave states didn't want the president to be chosen by a popular vote, since so few of the people living in slave states were actually allowed to vote. A much higher percentage of Northerners had the right to vote, so those states would have had a lot more sway in a national popular vote.

Boy, these slave-state Founding Fathers were really exemplars of Enlightenment ideals! Does all this mean that the person who wins the popular vote might lose the election?

It does. In fact, it's happened a few times. John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump all lost the popular vote, but became president anyway.

I can't help but notice, since I've been reading this book and so I'm basically a presidential scholar at this point, that this list includes all three presidents who were direct descendants of previous presidents. Is that just a coincidence?

Yes, probably. Coincidences happen in real life, you know. They're also the only three presidents whose White House butlers were mysteriously strangled to death on New Year's Eve, in 1845, 1912, and 2003 respectively.

WHAT? Really?

No, just kidding! Talking about the Electoral College is boring, so we wanted to spice things up.

Are there any other reasons for the Electoral College?

Well, what if the voters make a terrible decision?

Come again?

Let's face it — people can be stupid sometimes when it comes to voting. Think for a second about some of the terrible choices voters have made over the years.

I can hardly bear to.

Exactly! But having an Electoral College serves as a sort of fail-safe. If "School Sucks" wins the popular vote as a write-in selection, a few electors could just ignore the popular vote and pick whichever Bush or Clinton happens to be eligible.

That seems kind of anti-democratic.

Well, strictly speaking, this isn't a democracy.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's a constitutional republic.

Oh, ha ha! You think? I was going to say it's a corporatist oligarchy whose hegemony is periodically challenged by nativist-populist movements. But I mean, don't give up hope on that republic thing, kid.

CHAPTER 4

THOMAS JEFFERSON

1801–1809 | Democratic-Republican

Ancient Greek cave aficionado Plato believed the best form of government was rule by a benevolent philosopher-king — a wise man who could govern justly, and who wouldn't let power go to his head. Some have argued that Thomas Jefferson fit this mold. He was one of the most learned men of his age: an accomplished philosopher, scientist, lawyer, author, and artist. A polymath with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge who was happier doing research at Monticello than he was exercising state power in Washington.

Unfortunately, Jefferson was also like an ancient Greek king in that he kept hundreds of people enslaved on his vast ancestral estate. But we won't belabor that point here, because we're going to spend the next couple of pages belaboring it.

Get the Look!

JEFFERSON'S LOOK HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS "UTTER SLOVENLINESS AND INDIFFERENCE TO APPEARANCES." WE'RE GOING TO BE FRANK WITH YOU AND TELL YOU THAT YOU ALREADY HAVE THIS LOOK. THAT PONYTAIL IS FOOLING NO ONE.

DOES HE KEEP HIS promises?

x Reduce Executive Power. Here's a free voter-education tip: Anytime a candidate says they plan to reduce executive power once they become president, they are lying. Like your regrets, executive powers only grow with time.

[check] Don't remarry. When Jefferson's wife, Martha, was on her deathbed, she made him promise not to remarry. He kept this promise. Unfortunately, she did not have the foresight to add, "Oh, and I hope this goes without saying, but I'd also prefer that you not start sleeping with my enslaved teenaged half-sister. I mean, if it's between that and remarrying, I guess I'd rather you remarry."

[check] Free your children from slavery. Jefferson will keep this promise, but keep in mind that he is only referring to children you have with him, and not any other children he is enslaving. When Jefferson's slave Sally Hemings went to Paris with him, once she set foot on French soil she was legally free. But Jefferson convinced her to return to Virginia with him by offering a deal: She would continue to be enslaved, and any children they had together would be enslaved, but he would free those children on their 21st birthdays. This does not sound like such a hot deal! But it's probably pretty easy for a genius philosopher statesman to talk an uneducated, pregnant teenager into a bad deal.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Hottest Heads of State"
by .
Copyright © 2018 John and Kate Dobson.
Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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