Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery, and Mischief From the Oval Office

Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery, and Mischief From the Oval Office


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There’s the office: President of the United States. And then there’s the man in the office—prone to temptation and looking to unwind after a long day running the country. Celebrating the decidedly less distinguished side of the nation’s leaders, humor writer Brian Abrams offers a compelling, hilarious, and true American history on the rocks—a Washington-to-Obama, vice-by-vice chronicle of how the presidents like to party.

From explicit love letters to slurred speeches to nude swims at Bing Crosby’s house, reputations are ruined and secrets bared. George Washington brokered the end of the? American Revolution over glasses of Madeira. Ulysses S. Grant rarely drew a sober breath when he was leading the North to victory. And it wasn’t all liquor. Some presidents preferred their drugs—Nixon was a pill-popper. And others chased women instead—both ?the professorial Woodrow Wilson (who signed his love letters “Tiger”) and the good ol’ boy Bill Clinton, though neither could hold a candle to Kennedy, who also received the infamous Dr. Feelgood’s “vitamin” injections of pure amphetamine.

Illustrated throughout with infographics (James Garfield’s attempts at circumnavigating the temperance movement), comic strips (George Bush Sr.’s infamous televised vomiting incident), caricatures, and fake archival documents, the book has the smart, funny feel of Mad magazine meets The Colbert Report. Plus, it includes recipes for 44 cocktails inspired by each chapter’s partier-in-chief.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761180845
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/10/2015
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Brian Abrams is the author of AND NOW . . . An Oral History of “Late Night with David Letterman,” 1982-1993. He has written for High Times, Mental Floss, Playboy, and other publications. He lives in New York City.


John Mathias is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Seventeen, Tablet Magazine, The Lowbrow Reader and others. He lives in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Table of Contents

Introduction vi

Party Key viii

1 George Washington: The High and Mighty General 1

2 John Adams: His Rotundity's Morning Routine 7

3 Thomas Jefferson: Riding, Dining, and a Little Unbending 11

4 James Madison: His Fine, Portly, Buxom Dame 16

5 James Monroe: Holiday Road 22

6 John Quincy Adams: Gambling Furniture 26

7 Andrew Jackson: Animal House 30

8 Martin Man Buren: Martin Van Ruin 38

9 William Henry Harrison: 32 Days 47

10 John Tyler: His Accidency 50

11 James K. Polk: Workaholic 54

12 Zachary Taylor: The Hazards of a Teetotaler Lifestyle 59

13 Millard Fillmore: Cult Obscurity 63

14 Franklin Pierce: Hero of Many a Well-Fought Bottle 66

15 James Buchanan: Bosom Buddies 71

16 Abrahan Lincoln: A House in Disarray 77

17 Andrew Johnson: In the Face of my Nation 83

18 Ulysses S. Grant: A Natural Craving 87

19 Rutherford B. Hayes: The Water Flowed Like Champagne 96

20 James A. Garfield: Undoing the Hayes Ban 99

21 Chester A. Arthur: The Swinging Garden of Babylon 102

22 Grover Cleveland: Sheriff Jumbo 109

23 Benjamin Harrison: The Pious Moonlight Dude 115

24 Grover Cleveland: Stealth Operation 120

25 William McKinley: Frat Boys Take the Stand 124

26 Theodore Roosevelt: The Mighty Lord of the Wilderness 127

27 William Howard Taft: Continuously Hungry 132

28 Woodrow Wilson: A Passionate Scholar 139

29 Warren G. Harding: Scandalous 143

30 Calvin Coolidge: The Unknown Comic 150

31 Herbert Hoover: Lock, Stock, and Bootlegger's Barrels 154

32 Franklin D. Roosevelt: American Hero, Awful Bartender 160

33 Harry S. Truman: Straight Shooter 168

34 Dwight D. Eisenhower: First Couch Potatoes 172

35 John F. Kennedy: The Carnal Adventures of JFK and His Highly Influential Vice President. "JJ" 176

36 Lyndon B. Johnson: The Texas White House 186

37 Richard M. Nixon: All the Presidents Meds 193

38 Gerald R. Ford: Memories of Jerry 198

39 Jimmy Carter: Brother's Keeper 203

40 Ronald Reagan: Raising the Drinking Age 208

41 George H. W. Bush: The Vomiting Incident 212

42 William Jefferson Clinton: Slick Willy 217

43 George W. Bush: The Demon Looking Back 223

44 Barack Obama: The Choom Gang 228

Conclusion 233

Party Appendix 235

Additional Recipes 240

Sources 243

Acknowledgments 260

What People are Saying About This

Andrew Cassese

"It should come as no surprise to anyone how much of human history is the result of great leaders trying to get laid. But then you read Party Like a President and realize that the skirt-chasing and debauchery at 1600 Penn could rival the worst (or best) of frat parties. The Tri-Lambs have nothing on these nerds."
actor Andrew Cassese, Wormser from Revenge of the Nerds

Don Fulsom

"Infotainment and history mix well in this delightful cocktail of facts, factoids, and myths about our imbibing leaders."
Don Fulsom, author of Nixon’s Darkest Secrets

Artemis Pebdani

"Finally, a book on American history that I’d actually read."
actress Artemis Pebdani, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Samm Levine

"If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear Brian was a 200-year-old pot dealer who always shows up with a six-pack. He’s got the goods on all the commander-in-chiefs’ vices in exquisite detail. He’s like the Ken Burns of presidential alcoholism."
actor Samm Levine, Freaks and Geeks

Roseanne Barr

"Brian Abrams has written the definitive account of White House alcoholism. So before you vote on whose inebriated finger gets to push the button and maybe kick off World War End of Story, read Party Like a President. There’s no better way to enjoy the declining days of this American empire than reading a book that teaches you how your favorite presidents got plastered."
- Roseanne Barr

Gilbert Gottfried

"I’ve read the book, and I can pretty safely say that most of the words are spelled correctly. He’s got a good sense of where to put commas and periods."
Gilbert Gottfried

Matthew Algeo

Brian Abrams has unearthed a trove of incredible presidential vices that will make you wonder how the U.S. government has managed to function as long as it has.
— Matthew Algeo, author of Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure and The President Is a Sick Man

Carl Sferrazza Anthony

"Abrams hoists a stein of pithy irreverence to all the American presidents and their drinks. Each chapter runs riot with wry rye, yet pauses to tap the right spot and pace out the most intoxicating of his many tales. And herein, and only herein can the universe discover that most sacred of recovered lost treasures: Nellie Taft’s controversial knock-them-off-their-socks recipe for champagne punch."
Carl Sferrazza Anthony, author of Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era

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