PRAISE FOR PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATIONS
"A delightful survey of the highlights and lowlights of the Great National Swearing-in."--Houston Chronicle
"[Boller] spins a lively narrative full of intriguing tidbits on the evolution of the inaugural ceremony. . . . Readers with an interest in presidential history will find it worthwhile."--Kirkus Reviews
"Written with elegance and wit, this is a wonderful addition to the very thin literature available on presidential inaugurations and is thus a valuable contribution to the field."--Library Journal
"Say it loud, say it proud: Fort Worth's own Paul Boller is simply one of the best chroniclers anywhere of American presidential history. Presidential Inaugurations . . . is informative, fascinating and a lot of fun to read."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Boller truly knows how to make American history a fun read."--American Way
This informal history of American presidential inaugural ceremonies and celebrations is full of telling details. Calvin Coolidge, we are told, took almost no notice of his own oath-taking; while, true to his domineering personality, Lyndon Johnson controlled almost every tiny detail of his 1965 inauguration. Boller offers a charming report on Dwight Eisenhower's 1953 inaugural by a young reporter named Jacqueline Bouvier. An entertaining education.
Boller Jr. (Presidential Anecdotes, Presidential Campaigns) here examines the events and controversies surrounding Presidential inaugurations. While some critics see Boller's work in general as "Presidency-lite," he is to be applauded for bringing to a general audience an engaging and entertaining work that is accessible to the public at large. Written with elegance and wit, this is a wonderful addition to the very thin literature available on Presidential inaugurations and is thus a valuable contribution to the field. Examining many of the human-interest stories behind the inaugural ceremony, Boller looks at how the President-elect got to Washington, DC, the often inclement weather, the inaugural addresses (most of which are quite forgettable), the swearing-in ceremony, the evolution of the parade and balls, and a host of other interesting aspects of this oft-neglected national spectacle. This fine book will be of wide interest to the attentive public. Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
An anecdotal history of American inaugural ceremonies that attempts to emphasize the personal side of the inaugural experience. Skipping back and forth in time, he presents stories of picking the inaugural day, difficulties of the President-elect in getting to Washington, problems with the weather, inaugural addresses, parades and balls, and other vignettes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
White House fun-facts-compiler Boller (Presidential Anecdotes, not reviewed) provides an entertaining catalogue of material about a president's happiest day. Telling the story of inaugurations from Washington's first to Clinton's second (with a sentence or two on the swearing-in of George W.), the author spins a lively narrative full of intriguing tidbits on the evolution of the inaugural ceremony, which was born amid controversy. Wary revolutionaries contested any hint of regal pomp at Washington's swearing-in, and the new president defied his deist comrades by adding the extra-constitutional words "So help me God" to the prescribed oath of office. The thematically organized narrative has chapters on everything from Inauguration Day weather to how the presidents-elect traveled to Washington (by steamboat and stagecoach in Andrew Jackson's case; by bus in Bill Clinton's). This approach leads to a certain amount of repetition, but not so much as to prove an obstacle. Boller gives learned commentary on now-forgotten political, religious, and social movements that found expression at the inaugural, particularly Sabbatarianism (which kept James Monroe, Zachary Taylor, Woodrow Wilson, and a few other presidents from taking office forthwith when Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday). He also shows that the fantastically expensive balls of recent years have long precedent. At Ulysses S. Grant's swearing-in feast, for example, the menu included baked salmon, roast boar's head, pickled oysters, lobster, turkey, capons stuffed with truffles, mutton, roast beef, ham, and dozens of other plates-enjoyment of which was substantially diminished by the fact that most of the food lay frozen on thegroaningboard, the night being extra-cold and central heating nonexistent. A little late to take advantage of this year's festivities, but readers with an interest in presidential history will find it worthwhile.