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Coolidge

Coolidge

Geschrieben von Amity Shlaes

Erzählt von Terence Aselford


Coolidge

Geschrieben von Amity Shlaes

Erzählt von Terence Aselford

Bewertungen:
3.5/5 (11 Bewertungen)
Länge:
21 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Feb 12, 2013
ISBN:
9780062116093
Format:
Hörbuch

Beschreibung

Amity Shlaes, author of The Forgotten Man, delivers a brilliant and provocative reexamination of America’s thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge, and the decade of unparalleled growth that the nation enjoyed under his leadership. In this riveting biography, Shlaes traces Coolidge’s improbable rise from a tiny town in New England to a youth so unpopular he was shut out of college fraternities at Amherst College up through Massachusetts politics. After a divisive period of government excess and corruption, Coolidge restored national trust in Washington and achieved what few other peacetime presidents have: He left office with a federal budget smaller than the one he inherited. A man of calm discipline, he lived by example, renting half of a two-family house for his entire political career rather than compromise his political work by taking on debt. Renowned as a throwback, Coolidge was in fact strikingly modern—an advocate of women’s suffrage and a radio pioneer. At once a revision of man and economics, Coolidge gestures to the country we once were and reminds us of qualities we had forgotten and can use today.
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Feb 12, 2013
ISBN:
9780062116093
Format:
Hörbuch


Über den Autor

Amity Shlaes is the author of four New York Times bestsellers: The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man/Graphic, Coolidge, and The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy.  Miss Shlaes chairs the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and the Manhattan Institute's Hayek Book Prize, and serves as a scholar at the King's College. A former member of the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, Miss Shlaes published a weekly syndicated column for more than a decade, appearing first in the Financial Times, then in Bloomberg. 

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3.7
11 Bewertungen / 12 Rezensionen
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  • (4/5)
    This fairly lengthy biography of US President Calvin Coolidge seemed to follow the pattern of Coolidge's life. There was a slow and methodical start, followed by a time of hard work and great purpose. Then there was a period of great activity and intensity (the presidency) and then the end. Coolidge became vice president reluctantly, and president accidentally. He took office with several difficult issues looming large over the office of the president. The US war debt was enormous, and unfortunately, there were several scandals resulting from the rather loose administration of the Harding presidency. With great dedication and perseverance (qualities Coolidge had developed early in life) a new tax law was passed, spending was reduced and an incredible amount of war debt was payed off. He weathered the scandals of his predecessor and saw a time of great growth and prosperity. At the same time, Shlaes shows how the stage was set for the Great Depression and shows where all the major political players were situated in the late 1920's, before the downturn and the crash. It was interesting to learn more about the Kellogg-Briand treaty and how Coolidge and Kellogg managed to sneak that one through a Congress that had begun to discount Coolidge and treat him as irrelevant because he was not going to run again. Some things I really liked - Coolidge is portrayed as a real person with his strengths and weaknesses. He and his family suffered great hardship during his time as president, including the death of their younger son, Calvin Jr. from a staph infection. It was interesting to note that within 20 years, penicillin would have been available. I also thought it was interesting to see how Hoover manipulated his way up to the top of the Republican party, as well as the fact that it seemed to be just as divided and flaky on platform as it is today.... (but I digress) It was also interesting to see how both spending and frugality could both play into economic troubles. What I didn't like was that occasionally Shlaes would begin a story and sort of digress and never really get back to the story. It wasn't disruptive to the flow really, but sort of annoying. Coolidge was ill at the end of his presidency. It may have been part of his decision not to run again, but he truly believed that it would not be in the best interest of the country for him to run again. He lived long enough to see his prediction of economic downturn come to pass, but he died in 1933, just at the beginning of FDR's presidency.
  • (4/5)
    This biography tells the story of Calvin Coolidge from childhood through his presidency and return to civilian life. Throughout, he is explored as both an ambitious orator and the renowned "Silent Cal." The author also explores the contrast between the beloved leader who balanced the budget, introduced presidential radio addresses and the White House Christmas tree to the nation, and mourned the death of his son while in office with the vilified leader who fired the striking Massachusetts police force and refused federal aid for floods in Mississippi and Vermont to prove a point about states' rights. This work successfully paints a very human portrait of the many sides of Calvin (and Grace) Coolidge, and reads well as a biography. As a political work, however, it does not quite achieve its aim of convincing the reader that Coolidge was a president whose policies merit greater examination. This is not to say that they don't, but that Shlaes is much stronger at fleshing out personality than policy. Comparisons between Coolidge and Reagan abound, but ultimately, Coolidge is not considered outside of his own immediate historical context in this book. However, the average reader looking to get to know an undeservedly forgotten figure will find much to appreciate about the thirtieth president.
  • (5/5)
    When we think of Calvin Coolidge at all, which isn't often, we usually want to smile. There's his legendary silence, which resulted in the nickname Silent Cal. One story finds him at a dinner party, where the woman next to him said someone bet her that she wouldn't get more than two words out of him all evening. Coolidge replied, "You lose." Then there are some of the photographs taken of him, especially those showing him in an Indian headress. And finally there is his name, which next to that of Millard Fillmore is the most likely among U.S. presidents to get a laugh. Hardly anyone remembers anything Coolidge actually did while he was in the White House.Amity Shlaes takes Calvin Coolidge seriously in "Coolidge," her fine 2013 biography. He became president in 1923 upon the death of Warren Harding, was elected to his own term in 1924 and probably could have been easily re-elected in 1928 had he chose to run. Harding had been elected on the theme of a "return to normalcy," but there was nothing normal about his scandal-ridden, playboy presidency. It was Coolidge who restored normalcy, balancing the federal budget while paying off the war debt, taking steps that encouraged economic growth, higher wages and remarkable technological change. Like Woodrow Wilson before him, Coolidge sought an international agreement that would eliminate future war. That didn't work, of course, anymore than his economic measures prevented the Great Depression not long after he left office, but it wasn't for lack of trying.This quiet, simple man from Vermont was incredibly popular in his day. And despite his reputation for being a man of few words, it was he, not Franlkin D. Roosevelt, who first used radio to speak directly to the American people. After his presidency, he conveyed his thoughts on national affairs in a popular newspaper column.Coolidge did not think highly of his successor, Herbert Hoover. He seemed to sense that Hoover's spending policies would lead to economic disaster, yet this fear was not sufficient to persuade him to run for office again. He wanted to return to Vermont with his beloved wife, Grace. This he did, but he died within a few years of leaving office. And since then his reputation has diminished, while his usefulness as a punchline has increased. Amity Shlaes's book helps a bit to restore the proper order.
  • (1/5)
    Supposedly written to dispel the myth that Coolidge was a dull boring man.
    It fails miserably.
  • (4/5)
    This was a detailed biography of our 30th president and though at the beginning it was a bit over detailed, causing it to seem sluggish, once the political issues of the day surfaced it truly took my interest.A well-researched book, Calvin Coolidge was apparently very reserved which earned him his name of Silent Cal but he was determined to maintain his New England roots and brought fiscal responsibility wherever he served.As the Governor of Massachusetts, he was in office when the police force in Boston decided to strike for better wages and his resolve to not cave in earned him national recognition and the Vice Presidential bid in 1920 with Warren Harding. After Harding's unexpected death, and exposure of the Teapot Dome affair, Coolidge worked diligently to restore the trust in government. He also attempted to balance the budget, reduce unnecessary spending, and cut the size of the Federal Government."Coolidge believed that immigrants should come only if the United States could absorb them and only if they were prepared to make an effort to assimilate." He also believed "that citizens must know their country and learn its language to become good citizens."The Wall Street Journal's obituary of Calvin Coolidge in 1933 read :“….In due time, the good fortune of the United States to have had such a man as Calvin Coolidge in just the years he filled the office will be more clearly realized than it has yet been."After reading this book I regret that so many of our current citizens are unaware of this man and his endeavors to make our government what it should be.Too bad that the current candidates can't learn from his example.
  • (3/5)
    Unabashed apology for Coolidge. The author fails to analyze Coolidge's role in helping to create the conditions that lead to the Great Depression. The author suggests Hoover and FDR should have done nothing. The author says the country would have benefited by allowing the natural business cycle pull the country out of the Depression. The author correctly praises Coolidge for the Yankee honesty in his administration after the scandals of the Harding administration. When the country was afflicted by great floods, the author notes Coolidge adhered to his "do nothing" policy. His minimalist role for the federal government certainly would not work today. He never would have initiated the interstate highways like Ike did. He never would have initiated the space program like JFK. In foreign policy his administration is known for the Kellogg-Briand Treaty which asked countries to renounce war. Countries such as Mussolini's Italy and Japan signed on to the Treaty only to engage in aggressive wars shortly afterwards. Coolidge naively thought this type of Treaty would have stopped WW I. He was a popular president largely due to the fact the country was prosperous during his administration except for farmers who he declined to help. He knew the Roaring Twenties was going to end badly but adhering to his non-interference in business policy he took no action to stop speculation. Thus, the country crashed.
  • (5/5)
    Amity Shlaes continues her analysis of the early 20th century with a biography of Coolidge which is a rare treat. In a fair balanced work showing both good & not so good of a man who became President on the sudden death of President Harding in 1923. Very few know about this man because the Great Depression & FDR's 12 years as President overshadowed everything that happened before 1929. Coolidge was a child of his own time & was one of the few who embraced the ever changing landscape from horse & buggy to automobiles. In a time of tension between workers versus employers, agricultural depression lasting beyond 1900 (World War I briefly pulled agriculture out of depression), rise of progressives pushing for political change & various other contenders to push popular demands, & finally the incredible innovations appearing like the light bulb & the automobile, Coolidge managed to hold off what he knew was dangerous tendencies that very few understood. One was the desire to spend beyond what the country was able to afford. Another was the potential consequences of this spending. He foresaw that no national spending for various programs nor national disasters were going to remedy or offset the consequences that would unfold. He tried for a time to forestall the Progressives who opposed him & the Democrats eager to undermine him. His successes were few though this was remarkable considering the opposition. The tragedy was that no one paid attention to his warning of what was to come. Neither Hoover nor FDR paid any attention & the country suffered for it. The work is very good though in some places a bit bogged down due to the explanation of the economics of Coolidge's tax cut plan. Coolidge lived long enough to see that what he feared would be proved right. There is so much more to this work but I will leave this for the reader to dig into it. Well done.
  • (4/5)
    Amity Shlaes has won a place in my heart and on my bookshelf.She has the ability to take what could be cumbersome and present it in an engaging manner.Coolidge came to Washington as vice president and moved into the White House in 1923 after the sudden death of President Warren Harding.He later won the office himself and served until 1929.The 30th president , he was nicknamed "Silent Cal"Where he may have been seen as quiet and passive....I saw reserved, determined and a man of "honest resolve"True, Shlaes , within Coolidge, expounds some of my philosophical leanings but I found a well researched, impressive biography.Coolidge was hardly perfect but I was impressed that he avoided the "celebrity"of the office, his principles were conservative and he effectively endorsed the concept: the creation of prosperity for Americans was dependent on individual responsibility, ambition, participation and character.A fun fact: he was born on the Fourth Of JulyCoolidge had won every race he ever contested from his first run for city councilman in 1898 to the governorship of Massachusetts in 1918, usually by astoundingly large margins."His combination of civility, effectiveness, standing by the law and, as president, tax cuts, budget balancing, and growth, was wildly popular with American voters...When Calvin Coolidge died in 1933 The Wall Street Journal’s obituary stated:“….In due time, the good fortune of the United States to have had such a man as Calvin Coolidge in just the years he filled the office will be more clearly realized than it has yet been."I agree with Paul Ryan ..."a must-read for policymakers and citizens alike."★ ★ ★ ★
  • (4/5)
    Boy, does Amity Schlaes like Calvin Coolidge? From the first introductory chapter, she makes her feelings perfectly clear and spends the rest of the book backing them up. Unlike many biographers, who seek to paint themselves as historically even-handed and unbiased, while engaging in the most blatant hagiography, Ms. Schlaes at least lets the reader know her feeling on the subject and subsequently appears more open minded than her presumably unbiased colleagues.I had previously read the author’s The Forgotten Man, a fresh look at the Great Depression and knew her to be the rarest of birds, a conservative historian. Some may be put off by her failure to elevate FDR to godhood status and her conservative economic and social outlook, but her research and writing skills are first rate. I can’t say that the quality of the writing approaches that of David McCollough, but the book is a very readable and enlightening look at one of our most obscure Presidents.As for Coolidge himself, his Presidency seems to be an all consuming effort to pay down the debt amassed during World War I, a “staggering” $27 billion, an effort that was largely successful. His economy, however, at times crossed the line, such as scolding the White House housekeeper for serving six hams at a state dinner when he thought five would do. He comes across as something of a curmudgeon, a scold and a cold fish. At the conclusion of his Presidency, the author credits him with predicting the coming Panic and subsequent explosion of spending. I half expected Schlaes to argue that the Depression would have been avoided had Coolidge run for re-election in 1928, but she does not, even acknowledging that his tight money policies contributed to the problem.All in all, a good look at the background and Presidency of an important figure in United States history, and one that has been largely neglected.
  • (2/5)
    Before I bought this book, I read reviews suggesting that this biography of Calvin Coolidge wasn’t the most objective book ever written. I decided to tough it out – feeling confident I could weed out bias and at least get the facts about the man. What very few of the reviewers mentioned, however, was how poorly written and boring the book is. I may have been spoiled by Robert Caro’s four volumes about Lyndon Baines Johnson (definitely not my favorite president), which are beautifully written (and to be followed by at least one more in the series) by an author who is able to illuminate both his subject and the times in which he lived. Not so Amity Schlaes.What I kept on thinking was, “did she never learn the definition of the word ‘paragraph’?” and “Does she not understand the concept of transitions between ideas?” Instead, there were many, many paragraphs that included several completely different facts or ideas that seemed totally unrelated. Ms. Schlaes also seems wedded to the idea of chronology at the expense of storytelling. No, that’s not right – there is no storytelling in Coolidge. She starts what passes for a story on one page, followed by pages of paragraphs about other events/happenings, then back to the original story again. With very few exceptions, this was the style throughout. The reviewers were right, however, about Coolidge’s being a book that contents itself with a praise of Coolidge’s policies but never considers that there may be alternative views of his place in history. Every president needs a cheerleader and Amity Schlaes is Coolidge’s. I’m glad I finished Coolidge – at least I know the outline of his life. But the book was pretty doggone frustrating to read.
  • (4/5)
    “Coolidge” is a worthy successor to Amity Shlaes’s “The Forgotten Man.” Clean prose and expansive detail paint our 30th president in a new light, exposing far more character and color than found in contemporary black-and-white portraits of “Silent Cal.” Although genuinely a man of few words we learn that Coolidge is born of hard work, conviction and principle. Hewn from the same New England mindset as John Adams, Coolidge is tough, self-reliant, and unpretentious. Above all, he is a man of the law whether fulfilling the rigorous demands of Massachusetts’s governor or the U. S. Presidency. In 1927 the Mississippi Valley flood affected ten states, swelling the Mississippi at one point to a width of sixty miles and becoming the worst river flood in U.S. History. But Coolidge didn’t tour the area or the subsequent flood of his beloved Vermont, believing that it was not in the purview of his office to do so. He was a principled, constitutional federalist.We then learn of the essential role played by Grace Goodhue-Coolidge, his First Lady and guiding light, his balance. She was the charm to his reticence, the voice to his silence. She managed their awkward transition to the White House and helped him endure the death of their son, Calvin Junior, just prior to his reelection in 1924. If adversity truly reveals character then rarely has it been more clearly revealed than with the Coolidges. Yet their courage and characters remain largely unknown.My only criticism is that the attention to detail can, at times, seem excessive and slow the narrative. Otherwise this is a fluid and scholarly journey into the tumult of the 1920s. A must read for History enthusiasts for its seamless historical storytelling and demonstration of “readable” history.
  • (4/5)
    “The only thing we have to fear is, fear itself.” -“The buck stops here!” - “ Ich bin ein Berliner!” –“ Tear down this wall!” – “I did not have sex with that woman.” The inspiration of the American experiment is fueled by the great words of her leaders. So powerful are these words, and the men who gave them birth, that their momentum carries across the hearts of generations. To these men and their words we erect statues, monuments, and glorify the historic legacy they inspired.However, at times, it can be decades before a President’s message can be understood, and its value truly appraised. Such is the case of our 30th President, Calvin Coolidge. “Silent Cal” as he was known then and now, was more famous for what he did not say, rather than what he did. Seated next to a woman at a dinner party, she told President Coolidge that her friends had wagered she would get no more than three words from him during the entire evening. What followed were the words that would define President Coolidge, “You lose.” Coolidge by Amity Shlaes illustrates the wisdom espoused by the President and illuminates much about Coolidge that I did not know. In addition to an obsession about spending as little of the taxpayer’s money as possible, his administration used “scientific taxation”, and demonstrated that revenues could actually be increased by lowering tax rates. For such a stoic figure in his public and historic persona, Coolidge was actually a truly compassionate man. The death of his son, a life changing event for anyone to be sure, for Coolidge became motivation to be open to others although in a private fashion. Hearing of his son’s death, a boy went to the Whitehouse gate, and when a staff member asked the boy why he was there he said he just wanted to give his condolences to the President. The boy was taken to see President Coolidge, and afterwards Coolidge told his staff that whenever a child was there to see him, they were to bring the child in “and don’t make them wait”.Had I not been on a quest to read about each of our presidents, I probably would not have chosen to read about Coolidge. Ms. Shlaes made the life of President Coolidge quite captivating, and his life’s story one well worth the journey.