Coolidge by Amity Shlaes

Coolidge by Amity Shlaes; Published February 2013

Calvin Coolidge is widely recognized as a cool cat, someone with a dry wit who delivered some of the greatest one-liners in presidential history.  Thrust into action when President Harding unexpectedly passed away, Coolidge quickly became America’s laid-back answer to a fast and furious decade of excess.  A man of modest means who walked the walk in the way he carried himself and lived his life, Coolidge is rarely discussed among the greatest presidents in US history.  However, with the publishing of her book “Coolidge” in 2013, noted author Amity Shlaes brings the 30th president back into the limelight.     

Shlaes delivers a point-by-point timeline of Coolidge’s life from his upbringing in miniscule Plymouth Notch, Vermont, through his years at Amherst College, and during his stint as governor of Massachusetts.  We are there when he experiences the trials and tribulations of being in the White House, some personal, such as the unexpected death of his son Calvin Jr, as well as leading the nation through an extended period of growth.  He was the last US president to leave the national deficit lower than the one he inherited.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, the year after Coolidge decided not to run for another term, kicking off the Great Depression, Americans began looking back and flung some criticism Coolidge’s way for what was deemed a laissez faire approach to politics.  Shlaes, very pro Coolidge in her book, will certainly spark a debate among historians who wish to place at least some of the blame on the 30th president.

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