Alexander Hamilton: First Architect Of The American Government


Michael W. Simmons - 2016
    Orphaned as a teenager, he came to America in search of an education, a home, and the war that would at last bring him fame and honor. As George Washington’s most trusted aide, Hamilton helped to win the American Revolution—but after the war, his enemies lost no time accusing him of trying to sell his country back to the British. He was the most powerful member of Washington’s presidential cabinet—so why did Adams and Jefferson hate him so much?In this book, you will learn how the author of the Federalist Papers and the first Secretary of the Treasury nearly ruined his career by fighting duels, seducing women, and getting involved in America’s first sex scandal. The duel that killed Alexander Hamilton is the most famous duel in American history, but you’ll have to come up with your own answer to its greatest mystery: who shot first, Hamilton or Burr?

Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders


Denise A. Spellberg - 2013
    Spellberg reveals a little-known but crucial dimension of the story of American religious freedom—a drama in which Islam played a surprising role. In 1765, eleven years before composing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson bought a Qur’an. This marked only the beginning of his lifelong interest in Islam, and he would go on to acquire numerous books on Middle Eastern languages, history, and travel, taking extensive notes on Islam as it relates to English common law. Jefferson sought to understand Islam notwithstanding his personal disdain for the faith, a sentiment prevalent among his Protestant contemporaries in England and America. But unlike most of them, by 1776 Jefferson could imagine Muslims as future citizens of his new country. Based on groundbreaking research, Spellberg compellingly recounts how a handful of the Founders, Jefferson foremost among them, drew upon Enlightenment ideas about the toleration of Muslims (then deemed the ultimate outsiders in Western society) to fashion out of what had been a purely speculative debate a practical foundation for governance in America. In this way, Muslims, who were not even known to exist in the colonies, became the imaginary outer limit for an unprecedented, uniquely American religious pluralism that would also encompass the actual despised minorities of Jews and Catholics. The rancorous public dispute concerning the inclusion of Muslims, for which principle Jefferson’s political foes would vilify him to the end of his life, thus became decisive in the Founders’ ultimate judgment not to establish a Protestant nation, as they might well have done. As popular suspicions about Islam persist and the numbers of American Muslim citizenry grow into the millions, Spellberg’s revelatory understanding of this radical notion of the Founders is more urgent than ever. Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an is a timely look at the ideals that existed at our country’s creation, and their fundamental implications for our present and future.

Fraternity: A Journey in Search of Five Presidents


Bob Greene - 2004
    The result of his odyssey is Fraternity.This extraordinary book is rich with the sounds of the presidents’ own voices: from Nixon explaining the reasons for his solitary walks through New York City streets at 5:30 every morning to Carter recalling the sting of his family’s being mocked for their rural Southern heritage, even after he had won the White House. Dramatic, funny, surprising and unforgettable, Fraternity reveals the human side of men who made history, along with the dreams of a nation.

American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy


C. David Heymann - 2007
    Even as young children growing up in the White House, their most subtle gestures and actions made headlines.... Yet until now they have not been the subject of a dual biography. In that sense, this volume represents a first." In "American Legacy, " #1 "New York Times" bestselling author C. David Heymann draws upon a voluminous archive of personal interviews to present a telling portrait of John and Caroline Kennedy. A longtime biographer of various members of the Kennedy clan, including Jackie and Robert Kennedy, Heymann covers John's and Caroline's childhood in the White House, the dark aftermath of their father's assassination, their uneasy adolescence, and the many challenges they faced as adults, all under the glaring eye of the media. He reveals John's and Caroline's loving but at times trying relationship with their larger-than-life mother, as well as Jackie's own emotional struggles, romantic relationships, and financial concerns following JFK's death.Other revelations brought to light for the first time in "American Legacy" include the assassination attempt made on Jackie just before she gave birth to John; JFK Jr.'s romantic escapades prior to marrying Carolyn Bessette and accounts of the predominantly happy marriage they shared despite criticisms from questionable sources; the shocking report of the autopsy performed on John following the tragic plane crash that killed him, Carolyn, and her sister Lauren; Caroline's rise to become one of the wealthiest women in America and her life now as the sole keeper of her family's magnificently complex legacy.Utterly compelling and full of new and fascinating details, "American Legacy" overturns much of what we thought we knew about two of the most talked-about members of the Kennedy family.

The Worst President--The Story of James Buchanan


Garry Boulard - 2015
    No son or daughter is doomed to acknowledge an ancestry from him.” Nearly a century and a half later, in 2004, writer Christopher Buckley observed “It is probably just as well that James Buchanan was our only bachelor president. There are no descendants bracing every morning on opening the paper to find another heading announcing: ‘Buchanan Once Again Rated Worst President in History.’”How to explain such remarkably consistent historical views of the man who turned over a divided and demoralized country to Abraham Lincoln, the same man regarded through the decades by presidential scholars as the worst president in U.S. history? In this exploration of the presidency of James Buchanan, 1857-61, Garry Boulard revisits the 15th President and comes away with a stunning conclusion: Buchanan’s performance as the nation’s chief executive was even more deplorable and sordid than scholars generally know, making his status as the country’s worst president richly deserved. Boulard documents Buchanan’s failure to stand up to the slaveholding interests of the South, his indecisiveness in dealing with the secession movement, and his inability to provide leadership during the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.Using the letters of Buchanan, as well as those of more than two dozen political leaders and thinkers of the time, Boulard presents a narrative of a timid and vacillating president whose drift and isolation opened the door to the Civil War. The author of The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce: The Story of a President and the Civil War (iUniverse, 2006), Boulard has reported for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and is a business writer for the Albuquerque-based Construction Reporter."

Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father


Michael Signer - 2015
    Michael Signer takes a fresh look at the life of our fourth president. His focus is on Madison before he turned thirty-six, the years in which he did his most enduring work: battling with Patrick Henry -- the most charismatic politician in revolutionary America, whose political philosophy and ruthless tactics eerily foreshadowed those of today's Tea Party -- over religious freedom; introducing his framework for a strong central government; becoming the intellectual godfather of the Constitution; and providing a crucial role at Virginia's convention to ratify the Constitution in 1788, when the nation's future hung in the balance. Signer's young James Madison is a role model for the leaders so badly needed today: a man who overcame daunting personal issues (including crippling anxiety attacks) to battle an entrenched and vicious status quo. Michael Signer's brilliant analysis of "Madison's Method," the means by which Madison systematically destroyed dangerous ideas and left in their stead an enduring and positive vision for the United States, is wholly original and uniquely relevant today.

The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi (The Classic Collection)


Arthur Osborne - 2014
    Having attained enlightenment at the age of 16, he was drawn to the holy mountain of Arunachala in southern India, and remained there for the rest of his life. Attracted by his stillness, quietness and teachings, thousands sought his guidance on issues ranging from the nature of God to daily life.This book brings together many of the conversations Maharshi had with his followers in an intimate portrait of his beliefs and teachings. Through these conversations, readers will discover Maharshi's simple discipline of self-enquiry: knowing oneself and looking inwards as the road to true understanding and enlightenment. This updated edition will appeal to anyone looking for peace, self-awareness, and guidance on how to embrace the self for well being and calm.

Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours that Made History


Andrew Cohen - 2014
    Kennedy pivots dramatically and boldly on the two greatest issues of his time: nuclear arms and civil rights. In language unheard in lily white, Cold War America, he appeals to Americans to see both the Russians and the "Negroes" as human beings. His speech on June 10 leads to the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963; his speech on June 11 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Based on new material -- hours of recently uncovered documentary film shot in the White House and the Justice Department, fresh interviews, and a rediscovered draft speech -- Two Days in June captures Kennedy at the high noon of his presidency in startling, granular detail which biographer Sally Bedell Smith calls "a seamless and riveting narrative, beautifully written, weaving together the consequential and the quotidian, with verve and authority." Moment by moment, JFK's feverish forty-eight hours unspools in cinematic clarity as he addresses "peace and freedom." In the tick-tock of the American presidency, we see Kennedy facing down George Wallace over the integration of the University of Alabama, talking obsessively about sex and politics at a dinner party in Georgetown, recoiling at a newspaper photograph of a burning monk in Saigon, planning a secret diplomatic mission to Indonesia, and reeling from the midnight murder of Medgar Evers.There were 1,036 days in the presidency of John F. Kennedy. This is the story of two of them.From the Hardcover edition.

The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey to the Nobel Peace Prize


Douglas Brinkley - 1998
    Outside the Oval Office, with a commitment rarely seen in an ex-president, he was more determined than ever to complete his life's mission: the achievement of world peace.With unique access to the Carter archives and to the man himself, award-winning historian Douglas Brinkley brings us this unprecedented biography of the former President. Here are penetrating observations of Carter's complex relationships with such world figures as Mikhail Gorbachev, Deng Xiaoping, Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, and Yasir Arafat, as well as his associations with the presidents who have succeeded him. Brinkley also reassesses the achievements of Carter's underrated White House tenure -- the Camp David accords, Panama Canal treaties, and his championing of human rights. The Unfinished Presidency is the definitive portrait of this formidable world statesman.

Quest for the Red Sulphur: The Life of Ibn ʻArabī


Claude Addas - 1989
    Until the publication of this book, anyone who wanted to learn about the life of Ibn Arabi has had little choice of material to work from. This major study by Claude Addas is based on a detailed analysis of a whole range of Ibn Arabi's own writings as well as a vast amount of secondary literature in both Arabic and Persian. The result is the first-ever attempt to reconstruct what proves to have been a double itinerary: on the one hand, the journey that took Ibn Arabi from his native Andalusia to Damascus - and on the other hand, the 'Night Journey' which carried him along the paths of asceticism and prayer to the ultimate stage of revelation of his mystic quest.

Franklin Pierce: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills


Roy Franklin Nichols - 1964
    The predominate picture that we have of him is that of a weak and shallow man, a "mediocrity" who left little imprint upon the history of the United States. This stereotype, however, is grossly misleading, for Franklin Pierce was not a simple man. Indeed, his personality was complex, made up of varying strengths and conflicting inadequacies, while his life, full of inner turmoil, had an aspect of overwhelming tragedy. This authoritative biography makes available a full-scale study of an unusually interesting human being. With the same thoroughness and intensity that have distinguished all if his historical writing, Roy F. Nichols follows Pierce's life from his earliest years in New Hampshire, though his college career at Bowdoin, his marriage into the distinguished ranks of an established New England family, his rise in politics, his services as a brigadier general of volunteers in the Mexican War, and his election to the Presidency as a "dark Horse" candidate of the Democratic Party. Mr. Nichols minutely examines all the domestic and international crises that beset Pierce's administration - - the growing conflict between North and South that was to erupt within a decade into civil war, the abortive attempt to annex Cuba, the troubled relations with England, the filibustering activities of such men as William Walker which aroused much resentment in Central America toward the United States. Not only does the author refashion the exciting events of these critical days in American history, but he also unfolds, with sympathy and compassion, the tragic developments that dogged Pierce in his personal life -- his difficult marriage, his wife's illness, the death of three sons, the final bleak years of obscurity before he passed away, almost forgotten by the nation he had served.

The Clinton Wars


Sidney Blumenthal - 2003
    From his first day in the White House until long after his appearance as the only presidential aide ever to testify in an impeachment trial, Blumenthal acted in or witnessed nearly all the battles of the Clinton years. His major new book—part history, part memoir—is the first inside account we have of the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.The Clinton Wars begins in 1987, when Blumenthal first met Bill and Hillary Clinton. His chronicle of Clinton’s first presidential campaign and first term draws on his experiences as confidant to both the President and the First Lady, and is enriched with previously unpublished revelations about both. This remarkable personal interpretation goes far in explaining the polarizing nature of Clinton’s presence on the national scene. The narrative of Clinton’s second term is even more dramatic. Blumenthal takes special note of the battle that was waged within the media between the President’s detractors and defenders, which he expands into a vivid picture of Washington society torn apart by warring factions. But he does not neglect the wars fought on other fronts—in Kosovo, against Congress, and for economic prosperity. His remarkable book ends with the inside story of the fight to elect Al Gore in 2000 and extend the legacy of the Clinton-Gore Administration.Every page of this unrivaled, authoritative book, with its intimate insights into Clinton’s personality and politics, attests to Blumenthal’s literary skill, profound understanding of politics, and unique perspective on crucial events of our recent past. The Clinton Wars is a lasting contribution to American history.

George Washington: The Forge of Experience, 1732-1775


James Thomas Flexner - 1965
    This volume tells about considerably more than half George Washington's life, the forty-three years that elapsed from his birth to his acceptance, at the outbreak of the American Revolution, of the command of the Continental Army.

George Washington's Military Genius


Dave Richard Palmer - 2012
    So which is it? Was George Washington a strategic genius or just lucky? So asks Dave R. Palmer in his new book, George Washington’s Military Genius. An updated edition of Palmer's earlier work, The Way of the Fox, George Washington’s Military Genius breaks down the American Revolution into four phases and analyzes Washington's strategy during each phrase. "The British did not have to lose; the patriots did not have to triumph," writes Palmer as he proves without a doubt that Washington's continuously-changing military tactics were deliberate, strategic responses to the various phases of the war, not because he lacked a plan of action. Confronting the critics who say Washington's battlefield success and ultimate victories were a function of luck, George Washington's Military Genius proves why the father of our country also deserves the title of America's preeminent strategist.

Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest


K. Jack Bauer - 1985
    According to K. Jack Bauer, Taylor "was and remains an enigma." He was a southerner who espoused many antisouthern causes, an aristocrat with a strong feeling for the common man, an energetic yet cautious and conservative soldier. Not an intellectual, Taylor showed little curiosity about the world around him. In this biography--the most comprehensive since Holman Hamilton's two-volume work published forty years ago--Bauer offers a fresh appraisal of Taylor's life and suggests that Taylor may have been neither so simple nor so nonpolitical as many historians have believed.Taylor's sixteen months as president were marked by disputes over California statehood and the Texas-New Mexico boundary. Taylor vehemently opposed slavery extension and threatened to hang those southern hotheads who favored violence and secession as a means to protect their interests. He died just as he had begun a reorganization of his administration and a recasting of the Whig party.Balanced and judicious, forthright and unreverential, and based on thoroughgoing research, this book will be for many years the standard biography of Zachary Taylor.-- "Journal of American History"