Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989

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Simon and Schuster, 2007 M05 8 - 400 pages
From the acclaimed bestselling author of The Conquerors

Michael Beschloss has brought us a brilliantly readable and inspiring saga about crucial times in America's history when a courageous President dramatically changed the future of the United States.

With surprising new sources and a dazzling command of history and human character, Beschloss brings to life these flawed, complex men -- and their wives, families, friends and foes. Never have we had a more intimate, behind-the-scenes view of Presidents coping with the supreme dilemmas of their lives.

You will be in the room with the private George Washington, braving threats of impeachment and assassination to make peace with England. John Adams, incurring his party's "unrelenting hatred" by refusing to fight France and warning his enemies, "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war." Andrew Jackson, in a death struggle against the corrupt Bank of the United States. Abraham Lincoln, risking his Presidency to insist that slaves be freed.

Beschloss also shows us Theodore Roosevelt, taunting J. P. Morgan and the Wall Street leaders who dominated his party. Franklin Roosevelt, defying the isolationists -- and maybe the law -- to stop Adolf Hitler. Harry Truman, risking a walkout by top officials to recognize a Jewish state. John Kennedy, the belated champion of civil rights, complaining that he has cost himself a second term. And finally, two hundred years after Washington, Ronald Reagan, irking some of his oldest backers to seek an end to the Cold War.

As Beschloss shows in this gripping and important book, none of these Presidents was eager to incur ridicule, vilification or threats of political destruction and even assassination. But in the end, bolstered by friends and family, hidden private beliefs and, sometimes, religious faith, each ultimately proved himself to be, in Andrew Jackson's words, "born for the storm."

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User Review  - loafhunter13 - LibraryThing

"Don't be afraid!" was George Washington's near-to-last utterance, to the worried doctor at his bedside. The essential founding father's counsel is understood by well-known historian Beschloss (The ... Read full review

Presidential CourageBook

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I was extremely pleased with the qualitycost and service received in purchasing the book Read full review

Contents

Chapter
1
Chapter
10
Chapter Three
18
Chapter Four
25
Chapter Five
34
Chapter Seven
47
the most splendid diamond in my crown
57
Chapter Nine
65
Chapter Twentyone
157
Chapter Twentytwo
166
Chapter Twentythree
172
Chapter Twentyfour
182
Chapter Twentyfive
196
the right place at the right time
204
Chapter Twentyseven
211
Chapter Twentyeight
221

Chapter
71
Chapter Eleven
77
who would have had the courage?
86
Chapter Thirteen
96
Chapter Fourteen
103
Chapter Fifteen
113
Chapter Sixteen
119
Chapter Seventeen
127
Chapter Eighteen
136
Chapter Nineteen
143
Chapter Twenty
150
Chapter Twentynine
235
Chapter Thirty
244
its going to be a civil war
259
Chapter Thirtytwo
272
Chapter Thirtythree
280
Chapter Thirtyfour
289
Chapter Thirtyfive
302
Chapter Thirtysix
313
Epilogue
327
Sources
387
Copyright

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Page 193 - Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O UNION strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate.
Page 96 - This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration ; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards.
Page 26 - It would give you a fever, were I to name to you the apostates who have gone over to these heresies, men who were Samsons in the field and Solomons in the council, but who have had their heads shorn by the harlot England.
Page 167 - I do the very best I know how — the very best I can ; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
Page 187 - I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again : Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.
Page 27 - ... any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance, it should reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants, Wake from your false security...
Page 123 - Tis of the wave and not the rock; 'Tis but the flapping of the sail, And not a rent made by the gale ! In spite of rock and tempest's roar, In spite of false lights on the shore. Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea! Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Page 31 - For the result, as it respects myself I care not ; for I have a consolation within, that no earthly efforts can deprive me of, and that is, that neither ambitious nor interested motives have influenced my conduct. The arrows of malevolence, therefore, however barbed and well pointed, never can reach the most vulnerable part of me; though, whilst I am up as a mark, they will be continually aimed.
Page 153 - THEODORE — The hair in this ring is from the head of Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Taft cut it off the night of the assassination, and I got it from his son — a brief pedigree. Please wear it to-morrow; you are one of the men who most thoroughly understand and appreciate Lincoln.
Page 27 - The voice of humanity issues from the shade of the wilderness: it exclaims, that, while one hand is held up to reject this treaty, the other grasps a tomahawk. It summons our imagination to the scenes that will open. It is no great effort of the imagination to conceive that events so near are already begun. I can fancy that I listen to the yells of savage vengeance and the shrieks of torture...

About the author (2007)

Michael Beschloss has been called "the nation's leading Presidential historian" by Newsweek. He has written eight books on American Presidents and is NBC News Presidential Historian, as well as contributor to PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two sons.

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