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Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989
By Michael Beschloss
  from Quick Notes

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Executive Summary
GEORGE WASHINGTON avoiding war with the Jay Treaty with England .
went against his party's war hawks and avoided a war with France. It cost him reelection.
ANDREW JACKSON took on eastern bankers and vetoed the charter extension of the Second Bank of the United States because he felt it had excessive power over farmers.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN refused to end the Civil War early by settling for saving the Union without freeing the slaves.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT took on the corporate monopoly Trusts that control railroad rates and routes and thus destroyed  small towns and farms. 
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT prepared U.S. for war in a country that didn't know which side was right, was still angry over entry into WWI and did not want another war.
HARRY S. TRUMAN recognized the newly created state of Israel quickly despite tremendous pressures from both sides of the recognition question.
JOHN F. KENNEDY facing race riots, used Federal Troops to integrate U. of Mississippi, handled U. of Alabama integration well, and sent civil rights legislation to Congress.
RONALD REAGAN was aggressive in his stance against Communism, got the Soviets to sign an Intermediate Range Missile Treaty, and demanded the Berlin wall come down.
Editor's notes: 1) The author often summarizes events in the first of four chapters on a President.
                             2) Presidents are elected on even decades like 1990, 2000 with off year elections of 1992, 2002.
                             3) Pictures are from Wikipedia and the Internet

GEORGE WASHINGTON Summary of Events2 The Politics



2) Kick This Treaty To Hell









Washington had been unanimously elected by the Electoral College in 1788 and 1792 Former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson hated the English, adored France, and demanded retaliation. Secretary of the Treasury Jefferson had quit in 1793 and organized the Republicans who opposed  Washington's Federalists.

Alexander Hamilton, who was always arguing with Jefferson over foreign policy and economics, felt America could not win a war with Britain.
Fort Michilimackinac

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From Wiki

Britain, at war with France, was seizing U.S. ships trading with France.

In addition, London was reneging on its pledge, made as part of the treaty ending  the Revolutionary War, to vacate forts in Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, and Michilmackinac.  She was also arming Indians and spurring them to attack American settlers.  These attacks were  killing helpless women and children.

Trying to avoid a war with Great Britain that might "strangle the infant nation in its cradle," Washington sent  aristocratic Chief Justice John Jay to England to negotiate a secrete treaty. Eventually word got out and  many found some treaty demands humiliating. Article 12 stated America could trade with the West Indies, but not using very large ships really aggrieved Southerners as it severely hurt their exports. Another article stated the U.S. could not export products native to the islands.

To make matters worse, a Provision Order issued later by Britain  required U.S. ships carrying grain to France be stopped and the cargo confiscated.

Some wanted Washington impeached as cartoons depicted the President being marched to a guillotine and his beloved Virginia Revolutionary veterans cried, " A speedy Death to General Washington!" A Virginia  Republican ignored Washington's order to keep the contents of the treaty secrete and passed a copy to the French who saw that the contents were made public. When Hamilton defended the treaty in front of the New York City Hall, he was stoned and left with a bloody face. In Boston, a British ship was set aflame.
To support the treaty, powerful Federalist rolled into gear and stopped issuing ship insurance until the treaty was enacted, in Philadelphia, debtors were pressured by their banks to support the treaty. By 1796, Britain had  scrapped the Provision Order, accepted Washington's version of the treaty excluding Article 12, and the tide had turned in favor of the treaty.
The Republican controlled house tried to withhold ninety thousand dollars needed to enact the Jay Treaty.  John Adams feared a war with Britain might result in a "civil war" between the Anglophile Northeast and the Southern Francophiles.

The funding vote tie of 49 to 49 was surprisingly broken by Republican Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania who was chairing a Committee of the Whole. He committed political suicide by voting  for the funding and against the wishes of his German American constituents who hated England. After the vote, Frederick was stabbed by his German-American brother-in-law.

In a letter to John Jay, Washington stated he had survived "the Storm" and would never forget the "pernicious" people "disseminating the poison" against him. As Washington predicted, in 1812, America was powerful enough to win a war with England.

Jeffersonian Edward Livingston of New York demanded Washington hand over all documents related to treaty bargaining. Limited access was granted and Washington said the only way to get unlimited access was to impeach him
John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg (October 1, 1746– October 1, 1807) was an American clergyman, Continental Army soldier during the American Revolutionary War, and political figure in the newly-independent United States. A Lutheran minister, he served in the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate from Pennsylvania. from Wiki

1 From the 2007 first edition
2. Table, column and row titles, and name abbreviations are by Walter Antoniotti
3. Walter's addition
4. Help in keeping track of presidential elections, they happen on even numbered decades as Lincoln was elected in 1860, Kennedy, 1960. 

10 Best and 10 Worst Presidents from Rant Political

John Adams

Summary of Events The Politics

More  Summaries  2-8 pages

5) RIVALRIES IRRITATED TO MADNESS Federalist John Adams defeated Republican Thomas Jefferson by three votes.

Living in Washington's shadow was not easy and Adam's complained that "Old Muttonhead" could not write a sentence without a few misspellings.

Adams had inherited the danger of a war with France's newest revolutionary regime called the "Directory." Because of the Jay Treaty, French privateers were ordered to seize and plunder U.S. ships.

Now Vice President , Francophile Jefferson, was made minister to France. Twelve new frigates were built to fortify the Eastern coast. The ultra-Federalist unsuccessfully demanded a fifteen thousand man army and said concerning the horrible French tyrants, the Republicans want to "lick" their "feet."

Hamilton had back Thomas Pickering in the 1796 election

because he could be more easily controlled.

Adams kept Washington Cabinet fearing firing them would turn the world upside down.

Upon arriving in France, Jefferson advised the Directory to drag its feet on a treaty as Adams would be a one term President.

President's House, Philadelphia. The presidential mansion of George Washington before him, Adams occupied this Philadelphia mansion from March 1797 to May 1800.PhiladelphiaPresidentsHouse.jpg

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6) OH, THAT I WAS A SOLDIER The French Foreign Minister tried to bribe an American envoy for what today would be about six million dollars and the reply was "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." Outrage followed, but Adams never shared the ultra-Federalist zeal to face down the French. He attempted keep the bribe secret but the Federalist made the information public. It became known as the "XYZ Affair."

By 1798, talk of war was rampant and  John Adams became a war leader. He enjoyed it. Always jealous of Washington's battlefield reputation, Adams could not resist the opportunity to portray a dashing military figure including a sword hanging from his waist. He had proclaimed a "warlike" spirit and congress passed the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts which gave Adams the power of deportation. A congressman was arrested for anti-government writing, fined one thousand dollars, and jailed.

A new property tax was passed to pay for a twenty thousand man army.

Eventually Adams announced a new peace mission and the Federalists were none too pleased. It caused Adams to fall into a deep depression.

Because new U.S. citizens would vote Republican, Federalist extended the waiting period for citizenship to fourteen years.

Ultra-Federalist war hawks thought Adams  weak.  Eventually he gave in and let them  exacerbate differences with France for  "electioneering purposes."  By backing the Federalist taxes and military spending, Adams felt he was helping America's acquire "monstrous fortunes."

Many, like Quaker doctor George Logan,  told Adams that the French wanted to talk. When Logan told the secretary of State the same thing, he was thrown out and the  High Federalists got the Logan Act passed. To this day it bans U.S. citizens without official sanction from bargaining with foreign governments.

7) ROCKS AND QUICKSAND ON ALL SIDES By 1800, even the most self-absorbed Hamilton understood that the country's politics was becoming a struggle "between the rich and the poor." 

In May, the Republicans won in South Carolina and with it, the votes needed to defeat Adams for reelection. Adams tried to regroup by finally firing some of his pro Hamilton high Federalist cabinet. He also abolished the Provisional Army which he considered a "wildest extravagance" of that "knight-errant."

The successful peace negotiations in France came too late for John Adams to be reelected and Thomas Jefferson beat New York Republican Aaron Burr.

The Aurora published in Philadelphia, printed that God had thrown Adams out like "polluted water."

Hamilton asked Washington to denounce the peace mission but the Hero of Mount Vernon  was too tired to join the Federalist family feud. A month before his death in late 1799, Washington wrote that it was "anxious and painful"  for him to see his cherished country moving "by hasty strides to some awful crisis.

Adam's response to political attacks from Jefferson stated that the real problem was that Hamilton suffered from "a super-abundance of secretions which he could not find whores enough to draw off!"

To his death, Adams never understood why his making peace with France never carried the esteem  brought by Washington's peace with Britain. He felt America must realize that "great is the guilt of an unjust war."

Free Book Summaries- 3 New York Times Bestsellers




1 From the 2007 first edition
2. Table, column and row titles, and name abbreviations are by Walter Antoniotti
3. Walter's addition
4. Authors note: My original plan was to summarize the entire book to learn 
if the past would help explain the present. I found my mission was accomplished with only two Presidents.
  Please e-mail if you would like me to continue.
Hamilton fighting his fatal duel with Vice President Aaron Burr (the depiction is inaccurate: only the two "seconds" actually witnessed the duel) Wiki  

Thomas Jefferson The Art of Power, 2012, by Jon Meacham an 8 page summary also covers the Washington and Adams Presidencies.

ANDREW JACKSON  Summary of Events The Politics



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Life got off to a difficult beginning as Andrew lost his parents and brothers by the age of 14 and he had to live on family charity. In 1796, as newly admitted Tennessee's first congressman, lawyer Andrew Jackson arrived in Philadelphia with his pony tail wrapped in deer skin. His victories at New Orleans and in Florida over the English in the War of 1812 made him the most idealized American since General Washington.

President John Quincy Adams1 easily lost his reelection bid to Andrew Jackson, who was dead set against the Second Bank of the United States, and its condescending President, Nicholas Biddle. Jackson felt the bank had  excessive power over farmers, mechanics, and others unconnected to the eastern ' " moneyed aristocracy" '  Land speculation losses in Tennessee made Jackson feel that "debt, bankers, and paper money --' "ragg money" '-- were all the devil's work." He felt the bank had used its ' "golden favors " ' to help Adams be elected.  Largely owned by foreigners autocracy, he felt the bank was corrupt.

Biddle's First Bank of the United States had political problems and Jeffersonian anxiety about its power and lack of accountability caused Congress not to renew its charter. A Second Bank of the United States, with a twenty year charter, was established in 1816. It was the federal government's fiscal agent, though it chose only 1/5 of the bank's directors. Loans to House and Senate members by the bank gave Biddle a valuable weapon against Jackson. A confrontation between Jackson and Biddle, where the President made it clear that he thought the bank unconstitutional, occurred early y in Jackson's second term 

Democratic cartoon from 1833 showing Jackson destroying the bank, to the approval of the Uncle Sam like figure to the right, and annoyance of the bank's President, shown as the Devil himself. WIKIPEDIA


Jackson lost the1824 presidential election, which  went to the House because Jackson lacked an electoral college majority.  Jackson insisted there was a electoral college  ' " corrupt bargain" '-- between John Quincy Adams, who became President and Henry Clay, who became Secretary of State.

President Jackson blamed his wife Rachel's death, a month after he won the Presidency in 1928, on election handbills suggesting she was an  "adulteress and whore" for not having been  properly divorce when they married.

1As his father before him, John Adams became only the second President not to attend his success inaugural.

A promissory note issued by the Second Bank of the United States, December 15, 1840, for the amount of $1,000. Wiki

10) NOT A MAN OF FORCE In his first annual message to congress in December of 1829, Jackson denounced the bank as unable to keep a sound currency and unconstitutional even though the Supreme court had ruled it constitutional in 1819. To fight Jackson, Biddle enlisted the friendly congressman to make a report countering Jackson's complaints about the bank and then used Bank funds to publish it  throughout the country. Senator Henry Clay, a friend of the Bank, was chosen to oppose Jackson's1832 reelection. "While a member of the House, Clay had been a well-paid director and council for the Bank  He now claimed ' "no connection " 'with the Bank for a decade, but in fact, Biddle had just given him a quit five-thousand dollars."  Thinking Jackson wanted reelection too much to risk a veto Biddle ask Congress to renew the charter the Bank four years  early, before the election.
"Before Independence Day, 1832, the Senate and House voted to renew the charter the Second Bank of the "United State."  Most of his cabinet was against a clash with Biddle so he got help from his wordsmith-tactician Amos Kendall who became am member of what became known as the President's  "Kitchen Cabinet. Amos drafted most of Jackson hellfire message that vetoed the Bank's  renew the charter.  Few Presidents before him vetoed bills and he was the first to do so simply because he did not like it. Neither the Senate the House got the two-thirds votes necessary to overturn Jackson's veto of there charter of the Second Bank of the United states. Biddle "flung open the cash draws" to stop the President's reelection in 1932, but Jackson and Van Buren with 55% of the vote easily beat Clay. As Jackson predicted Clay would not do well west of the mountains and south of the Potomac. Clay only won Kentucky. 
Jackson got reports that Biddle had called for a run on moneyed institution which would cause a shortage of funds and an outcry for a new charter. Jackson countered with a plan to move all federal funds from the Bank to "pet banks". But William Duane at Treasury refused because Biddle would crush the use of pet banks. Jackson's Cabinet sided with Duane and when Duane refused to resign, Jackson fired him. When no one seriously objected, the power of the President was again enhanced.

 "When the deposits were pulled, the "Boston Post said Jackson was like Jesus expelling the money-changers from the temple."  Biddle tightened credit hoping to excite the public. This caused distress among New York merchants who went to the Whitehouse and complained.  At one point Jackson said ' "Go to the monster!... Go to Nicholas Biddle! We have no money here..,. Biddle has all the money." ' Biddle's efforts resulted in a Senate censure of President Jackson on March 28, 1834. Lead by Clay, the Whigs began blocking all Jackson governing efforts. When Biddle refused to let Jackson withdrew pension funds, Jackson stopped paying pensions and told veterans to blame Biddle's bank and the Whigs who defend it. In November, voters turned the Whigs out.

Biddle opened a new bank but that didn't go well and when sued by bank shareholders, he escaped to his home in the country with an immense fortune.  He beat criminal indictment but was dead by fifty-eight,

"Jackson's audacity gave later Presidents more power. Had he not redefined the veto and broadened expectations of what Presidents owed the people, the American future would have been very different.





Democratic cartoon shows Jackson fighting the monster Bank. "The Bank," Jackson told Martin Van Buren, "is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!" from Wiki

ABRAHAM LINCOLN Summary of Events The Politics

Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, age 28


In August of 1864, as President Lincoln road his horse home from the Whitehouse, an attempted assassination failed as the bullet creased his stovepipe  hat. Since the election, he had been entering Washington at night in a disguise. 

"....a Lincoln admirer sent  the President a copy of Old Hickory's letter  warning that the Southern states might succeed over the ' "pretext" ' of slavery. In it Jackson sputtered that ' "ambitious men who would involve their country in civil wars, ' " should be sent to ' "Haman's gallows." '

"Querulous editorials he dismissed by saying ' " I know more about that than any of them." (editors note. President Obama mad a similar statement about his ability compared to those around him) "... Lincoln resembled Jackson most of all in the strength of his personal will." 

Abraham Lincoln was more melancholy than usual that summer in Washington where in faced both the insects that plagued the city and the stench of dismal canal and the nearby swamps. Reelection was not assured "... his political advisors told him that his Emancipation Proclamation was dragging him down:"  as Northerners were willing to fight to preserve the union but not to free the slaves.

Originally, like Jackson, Abe was a Democrat who became a Whig, "For Lincoln,  Whigs like John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay embodied the rational intellect, -- Jackson the ' "burning appetite" ' of the mob--people like his father, who thought reading was loafing."  In 1860, wanting to be a down-to-earth electable candidate like Jackson, Lincoln was not presented as the ...' "well-to-do lawyer he had become, but instead as ' "Honest Abe the Rail Splitter. " '


"The Rail Candidate"—Lincoln's 1860 candidacy is held up by the slavery issue (slave on left) and party organization (New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley on right)

Lincoln ran for President in 1860 on a platform to leave slavery in tact where it was already in force. When Congress freed slaves that had escaped to the North in 1862, Lincoln was rebuffed in an attempt to pay the South for slowly phasing out slavery. 

The war was not going well in the summer of 1864 as Grant was stalled in his move toward Atlanta, Grant had lost 6,000 men in Virginia, and the South prepared to invade Washington. The attack ailed due to Union reinforcements and tactical mistakes by the South.

The raid put Pressure on Lincoln to peruse peace. New York Times Publisher Horace Greeley published an open letter t the President:  "  Our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country... shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions...and of new rivers of human blood."

Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves on New Year's day of 1863, was a "...military measure..." to stop slaves them helping the South. It was a political worry and he stated that could he save the Union with freeing the slaves, "... I would do so." Despite such efforts, his party was killed in the 1862 midterm elections. Radicals passed the Wade-Davis bill to vanquish Lincolns plans not to punish the South but Lincoln let it die without signature. When Wade and Davis tried to ditch Lincoln for General Grant, Grant supported Lincoln.

More political trouble came the summer of 1863 when Lincoln asked for five hundred thousands men and General Sherman said one less soldier would lose Lincoln votes among those already serving. A new draft disallowed men from avoiding service with a  $300 substitute, though conscious objectors were allowed. Many thought this new draft would kill his reelection but Lincoln thought what good is an election without a country.


"Running the 'Machine'": An 1864 political cartoon featuring Lincoln; William Fessenden, Edwin Stanton, William Seward, and Gideon Welles take a swing at the Lincoln administration

After his party lost the 1862 midterm election, Lincoln fired General McClellan. Now he was Lincoln's likely Democratic opponent who wealthy Democrats favored because McClellan would not fight the South over slavery. 

Party leaders provided McClellan with a furnished townhouse in New York and railroad equities in hopes he could unite the Copperheads, who wanted immediate peace, with the War Democrats, who were willing to wait. Lincoln was in political trouble because he had made known his belief  that peace with slavery was not possible and he would not change his mind because he felt slavery must be finished because  200,000 slaves had fled the South after the Emancipation Proclamation to fight for the North.
By 1864, much of the country was tired of the war and against Lincoln on the slavery issue. After McClellan's nomination, political bosses thought Lincoln  would win only three  states and asked him to consider not running.

With friend General Carl Schurz visiting, Lincoln, "most-eyed and despondent" told Schurz ...' "God knows I have tried very hard... And now to have it said by men who have been my friends ... that I have been seduced by ... power, and that I have been doing this and that unscrupulous thing... only to keep myself in office!" ' Lincoln would not step down!

1864 presidential election results
Before the Lincolns came to Washington, wife Mary had fired Abe's ambitions. But the lose of their son Willie in 1862 and the war had gotten to her. Dressed in permanent black, she feared critics would force her son Robert to be drafted, and he would be captured, and killed. She was obsessed that her husband would be assassinated. Lincoln spent much time that summer with the Bible hoping for help. "Suddenly Lincoln regained his political balance. He may have been helped by the Democratic platform designed by Copperheads who wanted the war over. The South could do what they want. This enraged many McClellan backers. Lincoln won easily.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT Summary of Events The Politics


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In October of 1904, President Roosevelt was nervous about the coming election because he had gotten the job when William McKinley  had been murdered, and no  President-by-succession had ever won election on his own..

"In December of 2001,  TR showed the nation he was no McKinley when he wrote to Congress about the  ' "grave evils" ' of corporate monopolies. He  knew that ' "Americans resented eastern bankers and corporate trusts whose dictates on railroad rates and routs could destroy towns  and farms." ' Ohio Senator Hanna, who never wanted TR as McKinley's running mate  was stung when he found out Roosevelt had sued to break up Northern Securities. Hearing the shocking news, Pierpont Morgan,  JP's son, bought shares in his own gigantic trust to avert financial panic. 

President McKinley had won reelection in 1900 by again beating William Jennings Bryant, the ' " Boy Orator of the Planes." ' Ohio Senator Mark Hanna had been McKinley's chief promoter, selling him like ' "patent medicine," 'calling him an ' "Advance Agent of Prosperity" ' and braking all records in campaign contribution, 7 million dollars,  by requiring big business to fork over 4% of corporate assets. McKinley won by a landslide. Hanna would warn TR not to run for reelection.

Roosevelt wrote a friend that "...his ' "chief fight" ' as President was against the new plutocracy, ' "as unattractive now as in the days of Carthage."

"Like both Adams and Andrew Jackson, he was taking a large risk by challenging the citadels of wealth and power,"

18 BLACK STORM "... in the fall of 1902, he tried to stop an anthracite coal strike that threatened, more than any event since the Civil War, to divide the country." For months, over 100,000 Pennsylvanian miners had been striking. There was sabotage, riots and murder. The leader of the United Mines Workers suggested a Presidential commission but railroad man George Bear refused to bargain with ' " instigators of violence and crime." ' 

Fearing ' "... the most terrible riots the country had ever seen..." ' Roosevelt got seventy-two year old ex--Commanding General of the U.S. Army John Schofield, to agree to, if necessary,  to seize the mines using ten thousand troops. Roosevelt was please that the General, his outdated skullcap and whiskers, did not look like a ' " military dictator" '.

Using the threat of  troops to nationalize the coal industry, TR got J.P. Morgan, still fending off the National Securities suit, to use his influence to have a commission resolve the differences.

Roosevelt knew he might be braking the Constitution by seizing property without due process of law but he felt that ' :"The Constitution was made for the people, and not the people for the Constitution." '

19) A ROUGH-AND TUMBLE-MAN Liking T.R.'s dexterity, the Republicans did well in the 1902 midterm elections. Roosevelt had the morals of a ' "green-grocer" ' and he felt easy divorces were "...were dragging the country into the ' "barnyard." ' In 1903 Roosevelt asked Congress for a Department of Commerce to and at the request of big business, he got a Department of Commerce and Labor to insure labor was watched as closely as business. Wealthy Republicans, lead by Ohio Senator Mark Hanna, were unable to stop Roosevelt's nomination in 1904 as the Senator suddenly dies from typhoid fever. 
20) I UPSET THEM ALL In March of 1904, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to dissolve Northern Securities. Of Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes who voted in the negative, Roosevelt said, he could carve ' "a judge with more backbone than that" from a "banana." '

Roosevelt felt he had amended capitalism to save it . "Better to take it from him than ' "some Bryan" ' who would ' " ride over them roughshod." '

Roosevelt said the Lincoln ring he received as an inaugural gift from Secretary of State John Hay, that was said to have one of Lincoln's hairs in it, would remind him ' " to put human rights above property rights." '

To dampen Roosevelt's radicalism, delegate chose "a McKinley Conservative, Senator Charles Fairbanks of Indiana, as the 1904 V.P. running mate. Roosevelt wasn't happy. Fear of Roosevelt overcame resentment and rich Republicans like Morgan and Harriman  gave $150,000 and $250,000 respectively to his campaign.

..."T.R. lauded the "man in the arena," who if he failed, at least did so "by daring greatly." ' 

One of FDR's sons told the author of this book that ' "My father spent his whole adult life competing with T.R.." '

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT Summary of Events The Politics
21) WE MUST PROTECT THE CHIEF On Friday, May 10, 1940, with Hitler marching through Europe, the old British bulldog became Prime Minister. Visiting to offer congratulations, Kennedy found Churchill ' " drinking a Scotch highball, which I felt was indeed not the first one he had drunk that night.

On November 5th, 1940, Roosevelt saw signs that voters were turning him out of office after two terms. Adolph Hitler was crushing Europe and lurking behind his opponent, Senator Willkie, according to the FBI and other intelligence services, was Nazi money that wanted him to push Winston Churchill into a quick peace with Hitler. FDR wanted a military buildup and convinced Wilson's decision to enter WWI was a ruinous mistake, many did not want to be dragged into another European war."




In September of 1939, after Britain declared war against Hitler, FDR began secret corresponding with Winston Churchill, the new First Lord of the Britain Navy. This raised the suspicions of U.S. Ambassador in London, Joseph Kennedy who was determined to stop another fruitless war that could threatened his three sons, Joe, Jack, and Bobby.  

Tyler Kent, a clerk in Kennedy's operation, discovered the secret messages between the two leaders, and convinced they were dragging the U.S. into the war on behalf of the Communists and Jews, he planned to make them public right before the FDR's reelection. Discovered, his apartment was raided by Scotland Yard. They found many documents including that morning message from Churchill to Roosevelt, and Kent's Jewish mistress in the bedroom. Kent was tried in London where the matter of their communication could be kept quiet under the Officials Secrets Act.

At this time, Roosevelt was pondering what to do about a Supreme Court ruling that had stopped the FBI from wireless wiretapping.  J. Hoover argued that such an action would stop them from listening to Nazi plans to blow up the Queen Mary and Roosevelt also was interested in what the Nazi's knew of Kent's information. Roosevelt signed the secret orders giving Hoover blanket authority " ' to secure information by listening  devices" '. Attorney General Robert Jackson thought the order was illegal, but he did not resign. He later wrote that Roosevelt usually acted in terms of ' "right and wrong" ' not ' " legal and illegal." '

22) GLOOM PERSONIFIED Roosevelt, in spite of his gregarious public posture, and his wife Eleanor almost divorced in 1918 when she found his love letters to Lucy Mercer, her social secretary. Needing more adoration than Eleanor would or could provide, and no close male friends, Franklin, by 1940. relied on two women. Others were suspected.



'Hoover widened his net to include anti-Roosevelt Senators and bitter isolationist Charles Lindberg."  Joe Kennedy thought Lindberg views ' "honest" ',  FDR was convinced Charles was a Nazi.

' "By the end of his second term, FDR's Hyde Park branch of the Roosevelt's was no longer on speaking terms with those from Oyster Bay." ' Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. had wanted to follow his father to the Presidency and he and his sister Alice Longworth were members of the isolationist lobby.

FDR defeated Republican Wendell Willkie who was estranged from his Indian wife Billie, and living with New York Tribune book editor, Irita Van Doren. Billie agreed to campaign foe Wendell and share his hotel room. Asked about it she said, '" Politics makes strange bedfellows." '

23) SALUTE YOUR CESAR FDR asked Hoover to investigate Willkie, Hoover refused. 

Getting lead lease of fifty destroyers for Britain through Congress was proving difficult so FDR asked Attorney General Robert Jackson if he could just do it and again Jackson said OK to a difficult issue. It was announced on September 3, 1940. Willkie said it was dictatorial and FDR said Jefferson didn't ask Congress when he made the Louisiana purchase.

By the end of September, Japan had joined Hitler and Mussolini in their attempt to dominate the globe.



Roosevelt's Democratic nomination was apposed by 148 delegates including Joe Kennedy, who like many, opposed the U. S. entering the war.  The platform opposed entry but, FDR got unless attacked added. Both McKinley and Wilson had used attacks to enter a war.

Hitler's chief diplomat was funneling money y to isolationists on Capital Hill. Trying to stop leaks like the false claim that FDR would defend Europe form Germany, Roosevelt had a recorder installed in the Oval Office. The recorder was playing when Roosevelt was slinging mud about Willkie's affair with Van Doren.

By October, the expected Republican surge came as Hitler was stalled and Willkey was gaining because of Republican charges that Roosevelt was making secret deals to get America into the war. Powerful union leader John L. Lewis used radio to tell America that  Roosevelt was scheming and would make "cannon fodder" out of their sons.

Kennedy's family returned to America, German bombs were hitting London, and Kennedy..." was ready to put "twenty-five million Catholics votes behind Willkie ..."




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Joe Kennedy, extremely successful at a young age, was very patriotic, obsessed with leaving each of his nine children with a million dollars, and felt his small capitalistic class was safer under Hitler than under Churchill

Intimate and close friend Clair Booth Loose , in a letter before his planned radio Presidential campaign endorsement of one of the candidates, begged Kennedy not to indorse Roosevelt as she was "terribly frightened for this country..." 

Gallop polls in 1940 revealed that Americans felt the most pressing problem facing the country by far(47%) was staying out of the war.  But Roosevelt knew that especially in a time of crisis, he was to lead and not to follow the American public. "Roosevelt was inspired by an almost mystical belief in the glory and power of Presidential leadership...."

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of China (left),  Roosevelt (middle), and Winston Churchill (right) at the Cairo Conference in 1943

Upon returning to Washington that Summer in 1940, , Kennedy, upon entering the Oval Office, found the President shaking a cocktail shaker. Kennedy was upset at being shut out from the destroyer lend lease deal, FDR blamed it on the State Department. 

People wanted Willkie to bargain with Hitler and weren't happy with the lottery for the America's first peace time draft involving men twenty-one to thirty-five. Isolationist said those who voted for the draft would lose reelection. Roosevelt was relieved when Republican opponent Willkie endorsed some form of military service. 

Kennedy endorsed FDR saying the war involvement charges were false. Germany was very upset a t the endorsement as they felt FDR could mold America's  ' " easily excitable character" ' and bring the United States into the war.

After the election, FDR enlisted Willkie's public support  to help England. His supporters feared hire taxes and loss of their businesses, threatened Willkie who, ' " hurt and worried" ' agreed to help Roosevelt.

Kennedy felt he deserved an important post  after the attack on Pearl Harbor got America into war. But his old reputation of being anti-Semitic and his pro-appeasement  of Hitler kept the President at arms length. 

By 1944, Joe Kennedy was agonizing over the heroic death eldest son Joe, while flying over the English Channel. Secretly, supporting FDR's Republican opponent Thomas Dewey, Kennedy  still went to tell the President that Irish-Americans feared FDR was ' "Jewish Controlled" '

HARRY S. TRUMAN Summary of Events The Politics
In May of 1948, President Harry S, Truman was surprised when Secretary of State General George Marshall, architect of the WWII victory in Europe, who never went to parties, showed up at his small sixty-forth birthday party. Truman thought of Marshall as the ' " great one of the age." ' Marshal  praised Truman for his integrity and courage in making decisions that only had  the country's best interest at heart.  Disgruntled by postwar adjustments and Truman's stumbles after FDR's death, 1946 voters had given Congress  to the Republicans By the spring of 1948, Truman's approval rating had dropped to the mid-thirties and pollsters said he would lose reelection. 

A new Jewish state was about to be born.  Truman's Whitehouse council, Clifford Clark, at a meeting with the President and Secretary of State Marshall, argued that we should immediately recognize Israel to help protect her from five vastly larger Arab armies ready to pounce. He reasoned that Israel would be a reliable democratic state in the ' "unstable Middle East" '. Also, America was trying to stop Russia from conquering the worlds and America  had also always felt a ' " a great obligation" ' to stop persecution. Marshal argued that Israel didn't stand a chance and we could not come to her aid. "No longer lauding his ' "integrity," ' Marshall unbranded the President (in what Clifford found ' "a righteous Goddamned Baptist tone" '  for playing politics with the Middle East to attract Jewish voters." Marshal then said he wouldn't vote for Truman if he followed Clifford's advise and a shaken condemned Truman adjourned the meeting. This and other heated debates put  pressures on Truman from both sides. 

26)THE RIGHT PLACE AT  THE RIGHT TIME In July of 1947, Britain stopped the Jewish  immigrant ship the Exodus from arriving at Palestine, a place where Jews from all over Europe were flocking in hopes of a new Jewish state. World wide outrage resulted. 

In the fall of 1947 Britain was leaving Palestine and a UN committee proposed a partition into  Jewish and Arab states with an economic union. Loy Henderson, Assistant Secretary of State, felt American involvement would jeopardize oil supplies and the entire Arab world would become America's enemy. Harry's business associations with Jews and good heart would face off with his Midwestern anti-Semitic background on the question of a Jewish state.




The Exodus, formerly President Warfield, arriving at 
(British Admiralty photo)

Henry Morgenthau, an unobservant Jew, close friend of FDR and his Treasury Secretary, called Truman to complain. about the Exodus situation.

Feeling dyspeptic Truman complained that about Zionists in his diary.  " [Morgenthau had] no business calling me. The Jews have no sense of proportion, nor do they have any judgment on world affairs... The Jews, I find are very, very, selfish." They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns., Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated... as long as the Jews 

get special treatment. Yet when  they have power--physical, financial, or political--neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the underdog."  Editors Note Goggle Jewish mistreatment of the underdog.

Political pressure from both sides was immense.

27 HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED? "In October, 1947, Truman's good friend Eddie Jacobson from the Army and Kansas City  implored him to back the new Jewish and Arab states in Palestine. Truman warned that financial and military support would not be possible. 

After the partition into two states, Truman's arms embargo to the Middle East hurt Israel as Britain was arming the Arabs. But Jewish friends of Hoover got lax FBI enforcement of the embargo.

Leading up to the UN vote, Truman ordered the UN envoys from the U.S. not to use improper pressure and anger the Arabs. The first vote failed by one vote, Clark Clifford got Truman to let his aids lobby for partition and when the final vote was taken, the partition easily passed.  "Complaining of pressure from Washington, Arab delegates walked out."  Truman warned the pro-Zionist New York Congressman after the initiative passed that "the pressure boys almost beat themselves... I don't do business that way." 

The State Department had been working for years with the Arab states and was doing its best to have the partition fail. Some felt U.S. troops in Europe to face off the Communists might be needed in the Middle East. With Truman wavering on support of any kind for the partition, Chaim Weizmann, Zionist patriarch, rushed to New York hoping to see the President. Truman's friend Eddie Jacobson was asked to help and he sent Truman a wire saying ' "I have asked very little from you in the way of favors during all our years of friendship, but I am begging you to see Dr. Weizmann as soon as possible.". "Tires of Zionist ' " badgering" ' the President wired Eddie that the Palestine problem was probably '"not solvable."' Jacobson flew to New York and in a private meeting with the president, he got the meeting arranged and at the secret meeting at the Whitehouse with Weizmann, Truman agreed to support the partition. But before the President could act, his U.N. Ambassador upset the apple cart by telling the Security Council that a peaceful partition was not possible and the U.N. should rule Palestine. Truman would not accept that Secretary of State George Marshal new what was happening. Clifford disagreed and thought the President so naive that he questioned a second term for hiss boss.

28) I AM Cyrus


Truman  had decided that the State Department  had '... put the Jews the same category as Chinamen and Negroes" and was ready to listen. 

In May of 1948, Clifford reported to the President that the Jews in Palestine were showing ' " unexpected military strength." '

Getting his information from Weizmann, Eddie Jacobson informed the President that a Jewish State would be proclaimed as soon as the British left Palestine and that immediate recognition by the United States was vital. Truman, by secret message, informed Weizmann that he would make it so. Not knowing of Truman's actions, the State Department threaten the Zionists to relent.

The President and Marshall had it out over immediate recognition, Truman won, and Marshal sent someone to stop the United States U.N. delegation from reigning in mass. The Jewish State was declare, Truman recognize it, and Weizmann became its first President of Israel.

JOHN F. KENNEDY Summary of Events The Politics
29) THEY NEVER SHOW PASSION JFK won the 1960 close election by getting 90% of the Negro vote because he promised to help them have full equality. Once elected, fearing a strong backlash from Southerners and conservatives, he acted slowly. In May of 1963, a riot resulted in smashed cars and burned buildings  in Birmingham Alabama, the most segregated city in America. This got Whitehouse attention, where again they worried about white backlash. Some Negroes  were getting interested in the more aggressive Black Panther movement and Alabama Governor George Wallace was about to try and stop two Negroes from integrating his state university. Aide and friend Ted Sorensen conceded that as a Congressman and Senator, Jack Kennedy had not given civil rights much thought. Early in his long Presidential campaign, he steered away from integration by saying as a Senator, he had nothing to do with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court integration ruling. Negroes like base ball star Jackie Robinson, wanted nothing to do with him.

By 1959, Kennedy was changing his mind. "Midterm Congressional victories had shifted the Democratic party's center of gravity toward Northern big cities. And with his recovery from a massive heart attack, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson was planning to base his own Presidential candidacy on the very white Southerners Kennedy had been wooing."  Dropping his Southern strategy, he tried to set up a meeting with Marti Luther King, Jr. who did not respond because of Jack's courtship of segregationists. He campaigned for Negroes rights anyway and his brother, afraid that liberal Democrats might go for sentimental favorite Adlai Stevenson, told aids to do what it takes to get Negroes support. The Kennedy's got singer Harry Bellefonte to arrange a meeting with Kings, which went only OK. To further stop a liberal rebellion, a Democratic platform that promised the moon on Civil Rights was approved and once nominated, Kennedy choose the party's most famous white Southerner, Lyndon Johnson as his running mate.

Lt. Kennedy on his navy patrol boat, the PT-109




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"Dishearten by Kennedy's foot-dragging, civil rights leaders declared ' "Project Freedom Ride 1961. " ' to test bus terminal integration and hopefully ' "create a crisis" '  to get Kennedy moving. Soon a white mob beat Freedom Riders and burned their Greyhound bus in Anniston, Alabama.. In  Birmingham, they were again beaten as "the notorious public safety chief Eugene 'Bull' Connor held back his police force so that  Ku Klux Klansmen could brutalize the outsiders without interference". Protesters were arrested. Civil rights leaders had their crisis.   

Bobby's attempt to get protection assistance for the Freedom Riders from Alabama Governor Patterson had failed so fearing the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. while on a speaking engagement on Sunday, May 21, Bobby provided fifty U.S. Marshals for protection.

When the public heard the news that the University of Mississippi had been integrated, they rioted and resistance reached the point of  armed insurrection. Kennedy called up the Army that he later felt was very slow to react. Soon the city of about 7,500 was guarded by 30,000 U.S. Army personal and Mississippi National Guardsmen.   

Eventually, the situation quieted down and a few week later President Kennedy, learning of the Soviet missile in Cuban, asked if they could hit Oxford, Mississippi.



During the early days of the Freedom Riders, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy's deputy learn that the President thought the Freedom Riders were ' "a pain in the ass." '

The President had a mild response to the Freedom Rider problems and the New York Times remarked the response ' " did not sound like a profile in political courage." ' This bothered the President.

In the Summer of 1962, the Supreme Court order the integration of the University of Mississippi. Veteran James Meredith would be the first black student as the result of a legal battle he launched after realizing Kennedy, in spite of his inaugural address,  had hardly mentioned civil rights.

The Kennedy's were trying to avoid the national controversy similar to the one caused when President Eisenhower integrated Arkansas's Little Rock Central  High School in 1957. But again, the state Governor not only failed to help, but reneged on a deal designed to make him look good to his voters.  President Kennedy federalized the Mississippi National Guard, made the Governor realize that as President, he had taped their entire deal which, if revealed,  would make the Governor look bad. Barnett made his speech announcing Meredith had been registered and then pulled one more fast one by removing state troopers protecting Meredith. President Kennedy was so distraught from the entire ordeal that he summoned his "well-concealed amphetamine doctor known as '  "Doctor Feelgood" '.

James Meredith

Kennedy speaking to a Civil Rights crowd in front 
  of the Justice Department building on June 14, 1963.



After the Birmingham  incident, Bobby' Kennedy's aid Burke Marshal tried to work out an agreement with Birmingham's white businessmen and Martin Luther King who wanted "...integrated lunchrooms, bathrooms and drinking fountains plus more black jobs, a biracial committee on desegregation and the dropping of all charges against the protesters." Marshall got King to agree to a deal but maverick minister Fred Shuttlesworth wouldn't agree and threatened a march without King. Then Birmingham  retroactively increased the release bond for each of the held protesters to $2,500 and more demonstrations were threatened by King's brother A.D. Then A.D.'s house was bombed and a bomb was thrown outside the motel room housing Dr. King. A friend of Bobby Kennedy's said even the attitude of servants had become confrontational.



"Before the Birmingham, only four percent of Americans had considered civil rights to be the country's number-one problem. After Bull Connor's dogs attacked protesters,  the figure skyrocketed to the fifty-two percent."

The president told the nation he was sending riot control troops to military bases near Birmingham but was not ready, as Bobby wanted, to make Civil Rights a crusade.

The President tried to convince Alabama Governor Wallace that King's nonviolent approach was better than Malcolm X and the Black Muslims but  Wallace responded that King and  Shuttlesworth were competing over ' " who could go to bed with the most nigger women-- and white and red women too!" '

The white house was trying to move the civil rights problem into the courts before someone got killed. They tried to get V.P. Johnson involved with a civil rights bill but he was upset about being ignored. The courts ordered the University of Alabama integrated, Governor Wallace was made to look foolish in an attempt to stop the student entry into the University, and the next day Kennedy made a televised speech to the nation framing the civil rights movement ' "in moral terms." ' Black American then realized the President had changed.


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32)A MAN TAKES A STAND "The week after Kennedy's civil rights speech, three dozen American cities erupted. Kennedy fearing problems, tried to stop  a planned civil right demonstration on the capital grounds and when that failed, he had it moved the more easily controlled Lincoln Memorial.  There, the peaceful  "I have a dream" speech, with Abe in the background,  inspired many and help the civil rights cause. The first penalty for backing civil rights came one day after Kennedy's civil rights speech as Democrats killed a routine Administration  public works bill. A Harris poll showed Northern Irish, Polish, and Italian Americans might turn Republican. 

Politically, Texas was a key state in the coming 1964 election and tickets for a Kennedy Friday, November 22  speech in Austin were going so slowly that "Lyndon Johnson had to call in some chits so that JFK would not be embarrassed in his home state."  JFK new that Dallas, the stop before Austin  was hostile terrain and to make light of this, the soon the be President Johnson planned to introduce JFK in Austin with a joke. 

' " Mr. President, we're glad you made it out of Dallas alive." '

  Editor's Note: For years it has been known that JFK din not yield to pressure from LBJ and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and bomb Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. Documents released after the fall of Communism and after this book was written  indicate Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would have retaliated with a major nuclear attack. This knowledge moved him up on my place for him on the list of great President.
RONALD REAGAN Summary of Events The Politics
33) WE WIN, THEY LOSE The summer of 1979, with unemployment and inflation soaring, Ronald Reagan had been ahead by thirty points, but with the Presidential election approaching, the lead was gone as opponent, President Jimmy Carter claimed Reagan would ' "push the nuclear button." ' A poor debate by the President and has inability to free fifty-two hostages held by Iran caused undecided voters to stampede to Reagan.

Asked about detente at his first press conference, Regan stated "Well, so far detent has been a one way street that the Soviet  Union has used to pursue its own aims," with the right ." He would negotiate but they sought a ' "one- world Communist state," ' with ' "the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat." ' " No presidency since at least Kennedy had talked so tough about the Kremlin in public."

President Reagan survived an early assassination attempt. He wouldn't go to Sunday church though he took the Bible literally, believed in the Messiah's second coming, and the imminence of Armageddon.


As California Governor, Reagan was always pushing President Richard Nixon to be tougher on Communism and when the  UN expelled Taiwan for Communist China Reagan was so angry that he implored  Nixon to ' "get the hell out of that Kangaroo court." ' 

Nixon, who thought of himself as middleman for President elects Reagan's activities with the Soviets, was pushing for a Secretary of state who would cut him in on foreign policy action.  Nixon was pleased with Alexander Haig who he describes as ' " the meanest, toughest, most ambitious son of a bitch I ever knew." '

While dismissing Reagan's claims to negotiate, the Soviets knew he would, if necessary, go to the limit. Reagan use the hot line created by Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev to warn Russia of the dire consequences that could result  when they declared under martial law in Poland and arrested Solidarity union leader maverick Lech Walesa.

1980 strike at Gdańsk Shipyard, birthplace of Solidarity.

34) IT LEFT ME GREATLY DEPRESSED By midterm elections, Reagan faced a severe recession and a public that would rather have a nuclear arms  freeze than a arms build up followed by the hope of a negotiated, verifiable arms reduction. 

In a surprise to most people around him, Reagan announced the idea of a $17 billion missile defense system to protect U.S. cities from Russian attack. Called Star Wars, critics called it a harebrained, no work system.

America had picked up covert activities against the Soviets on every continent, planned a big military exercise in the Pacific northwest, and with Pershing missiles soon to be installed in Europe, the Soviets were vulnerable to a sneak attack from the U.S.  

When the Soviets shot down a Korean airliner near Japan, Regan said it was them against the world. Tensions were high on both sides.

An advanced showing of the TV movie The Day After depicting Lawrence, Kansas the day after a nuclear war with the Soviets left the President depressed.

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After two years in office, Reagan very quietly had Secretary of State George Shultz set up a White House meeting with the Soviet ambassador  to make sure he knew that Regan hard line didn't mean he would not negotiate. As a token of god faith, Reagan asked for, and  received, the freedom of some religious people who had taken refuge in the U.S. embassies in Moscow. Soon, Reagan was referring to the Soviet Union as the ' "evil empire." '

With wife and confidant Nancy agreeing, Nixon got on TV to quite public fears and  told the world that it was now a much safer place because the Kremlin could not ' "underestimate our strength or question our resolve." '

Reagan really felt good, not only for his reelection, but because the Joint Chiefs of Staff assured him America had never better able to protect herself.

President Reagan delivering the March 23, 
1983 speech initiating SDI



35) DON'T WORRY THAT I'VE LOST MY BEARINGS In April of 1986, the Soviets suffered the worst nuclear power plan disaster the world had ever seen at Chernobyl. President Reagan learned that the book of Revelations predicted that "...a star from heaven fell on the water" and "men died of the water..." ' and he told aids that the Bible had predicted the disaster.

Aerial view of the damaged core. Roof of the turbine hall is damaged (image center). Roof of the adjacent reactor 3 (image lower left) shows minor fire damage.
On November 19, 1985, Reagan met in Iceland with new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan told him straight out that Americans detested Soviet world empire ambitions and they could either reduce their nuclear arms or get ready for a new arms race. ' "Shocked and offended by Reagan's threat, Gorbachev told his staff, "I have met a caveman! A dinosaur" ' As the meeting wore on, the arguments became more friendly. Reagan suggest they cut nuclear arms 50% and then talked about the U.S. deploring Star Wars.

Eventually Gorbachev agree to Reagan's proposed cut in nuclear arms, the elimination of intermediate-range missiles in Europe with on site verification. Star Wars would be the clincher. Reagan new the Soviets couldn't afford it so rather than let them off the hook and drop the program to get a treaty, he let the talks brake down. 

1985 Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev 

36) A MIRACLE HAS TAKEN PLACE "in late November, the world learned that that proceed from secret arms sales to Iran had been used to finance the Nicaraguan ' "Contras. "' Congress had cut off funding to those fighting the country's Marxist government. At 76, Reagan was showing the signs of his age and the last thing he needed was a scandal that could cost him his Presidency. 

During a speech near the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, Reagan dramatically yelled ' " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." ' With Democratic control of the Senate the possibility of Star Wars was extremely low, Gorbachev agreed to a ban on intermediate rang missiles.

Reagan was asked when visiting Moscow in 1986 if he till thought of Russia as an evil empire. He said ' " No I was talking about another time, another era." '
Images for Berlin wall

View of graffiti art in 1986 from the West side,
                                                               on the wall's infamous "death strip"

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summarized by Walter Antoniotti  of 21st Century Learning Products