Timed to the centennial of the Calvin Coolidge presidency and featuring a foreword by columnist George F. Will, this new edition of Amity Shlaes's brilliant and provocative New York Times bestselling biography examines an underrated chief executive who offered a model of presidential service strikingly different from that seen in America today.
Daunting political divisions, war, pandemic, unrest in cities, budgetary crisis, economic disruption - all troubles we confront today - also challenged America a century ago. When President Warren Harding passed away suddenly in 1923, the nation seemed to be heading deeper into uncertainty. Many considered the man who now moved into the highest office in the land, Vice President Calvin Coolidge, a lame duck. After all, "Silent Cal" was scarcely known to many Americans. Yet through breathtaking discipline and determination this unexpected president set America on a new course, won a stunning victory of his own in 1924, and restored the nation's confidence in itself.
In this magisterial biography, bestselling author Amity Shlaes traces Coolidge's dramatic story and the roots of his strength, including his childhood in a New England hamlet, his rise from town lawmaker to governor of Massachusetts, and his dramatic handling of the Boston Police strike. Through bipartisanship, civility, restraint, and sheer perseverance, the thirtieth president ended the era of crisis and delivered both a solvent government and a better life to working Americans.
More important, Coolidge carefully rebuilt Americans' trust in our own government. As Shlaes shows, Coolidge led by example, inspiring Americans to cast away irony and anger. Elected on his own in 1924, Coolidge enjoyed enormous popularity as president and seemed set for reelection in 1928. When the president visited South Dakota in the summer of 1927, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore even suggested that Coolidge's profile be added along with that of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. Yet on that same trip, Coolidge gave the nation one of the greatest demonstrations of political character since Washington delivered his Farewell Address. Precisely because he believed service more significant than glory, Coolidge made a sacrifice rare for a popular president and announced he would not run again.
At once a revision of a leader and a decade, this dramatic biography, complete with a new foreword from George F. Will, captures the remarkable story of a rare president whose leadership couldn't be timelier today.