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American Caesars takes a fresh look at the lives and careers of the twelve leaders of the American empire since World War II, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush. President by president, the noted biographer Nigel Hamilton strips away myths and wishful thinking to record our most recent presidents as they really were: leaders guiding the fortunes of an unruly empiAmerican Caesars takes a fresh look at the lives and careers of the twelve leaders of the American empire since World War II, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush. President by president, the noted biographer Nigel Hamilton strips away myths and wishful thinking to record our most recent presidents as they really were: leaders guiding the fortunes of an unruly empire, on a world stage. Hamilton relates and examines the presidents’ unique characters, their paths to Pennsylvania Avenue, their effectiveness as global leaders, and their lessons in governance, both good and bad. With uncompromising candor he looks at how these powerful men responded to the challenges that defined their presidencies—FDR’s role as a war leader, Harry Truman’s decision to mount a Berlin Airlift rather than pursue military confrontation with the Soviets, Lyndon Johnson’s undertaking of controversial Civil Rights legislation and his disastrous war in Vietnam, Jimmy Carter’s handling of the Iran hostage crisis, George H. W. Bush’s effectiveness in guiding the world during the collapse of the Soviet Union, and his son’s fateful invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other salient episodes in modern American history. In the Suetonian manner, Hamilton also looks at the presidents’ private lives—some noble, some flawed, some deeply moving....

Title : American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780300169287
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 624 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush Reviews

  • Graham
    2018-10-25 10:58

    4.5 stars. book layout borrowed from a roman era biographer of roman emperors, with focuse on political life of each president, followed by their private lives. At times it felt brief, and omitted important pieces of each of the presidents it examined, but which the author admits in the end is a necessary part of writing biographies of 12 presidents in 500 pages. it has raised my interest in some of the subjects and will hopefully be a good jumping off point into the topic.

  • David
    2018-11-14 12:00

    What an achievement by Nigel Hamilton. This book covers the presidencies of FDR and the 11 men who followed him into The White House, and focuses on how they came to power, what they achieved during their presidency, and their private lives. Hamilton himself says in the acknowledgements that he deliberately separated out the public and private lives of each of the Presidents, to view their time in office in isolation initially, before looking at the private circumstances which may have influenced them. Despite the brevity of the chapters, with barely 45 pages dedicated to each of the men who have ruled the American Empire since 1932, I felt as though I was given a pretty full summary of each of the Presidents' time in office, and it probably made the narrative thread and comparisons easier to digest than Hamilton's original manuscript, which was apparently double the size! As an outsider - a non-American - it is, at times, an uncomfortable read, from post-WW2 Presidents ignoring pressing social issues such as civil rights because of not wanting to deal with the maelstrom it would create in the South, to the disgusting campaigning tactics of Atwater and Rove, which helped place Bushes Senior and Junior in power. For all their faults, men like FDR and Truman appear to have brought dignity, honour, clear policies and a moral basis to their time in office - a stark comparison to the criminality of Nixon or Bush Jnr, the listlessness of Bush Snr, the publicly aired sexual adventures of Clinton, or the willingness of the Reagan and Bush Jnr administrations to pursue destructive foreign policy initiatives that wasted strong negotiating positions and undermined America's international reputation. Reading about the conduct of Newt Gingrich during the Clinton years makes me utterly astonished that he is a credible candidate for the Republican nomination this year. Having said all that, I'm no expert on the Presidents and have not read widely about them. Hamilton clearly has his favourites, and gleefully shreds George W. Bush in a final chapter that makes the reader wonder how on earth Bush and his administration were able to get away with what they did, and how they have evaded prosecution, and even more astounded about him winning a second term than I was at the time. No doubt there are counterpoints out there that cast each of the Presidents in a different light; no doubt more detail would add more depth and shading to each of the men whose time in office is covered here. At the moment, I find myself almost unwilling to delve into any of the Presidents' careers, as I feel it would confuse the picture that Hamilton has sketched with such clarity.

  • Andrew Robins
    2018-10-19 07:41

    I am interested in post war American politics, and have read a fair amount on the subject, but this book was really excellent for filling in the gaps - it consists, basically, of portraits of every US president between FDR and George W Bush.A few things stood out. No matter how much of an absolute bastard you thought Richard Nixon was, he continues to go on to be revealed to be considerably worse. The only character in this book who comes across as worse than Nixon is Kissinger.Beyond the predictable, I had no idea of the full extent to which Bush II was manipulated by the likes of Dick Cheney. Presidents I wound up with an improved perception of were Truman and Carter. The most interesting (after Nixon who is in a category of his own, obviously) must surely be Lyndon Baines Johnson - to go from the heroism of the Civil Rights Act to the insane spiralling out of control of Vietnam in a few years was incredibly disheartening and brought to mind (though on a much smaller scale) the descent of Tony Blair from great new hope to Bush's illegal war poodle.A very well written, excellent book, the 600 odd pages flew by.

  • Judith Kelsey-powell
    2018-11-08 05:43

    Hamilton shares my biases, so I liked the book a lot. I thought this format was a wonderful way to explore the post-WWII presidencies. I wouldn't recommend it as a first look at the modern presidency, but it gives cogent thumbnail sketches of these biographies--and while not entirely sepatating the personal from the political, reminds us that presidents are people more or less sucessful in multiple arenas of their lives. Definately worth reading.

  • Steve
    2018-11-19 07:39

    Brilliant - compelling reading!

  • Lauren White
    2018-11-14 11:59

    Genuinely the best historical and political biography of major modern presidents you'll find. It is entertaining and truly interesting and most of the time it feels like you're not even reading a history book. Hamilton does a great job and, in my opinion, judges the presidents with just the right temperament and has a deeper understanding and bigger picture overview than some other biographers and historians do. Well worth a read.

  • Adam James
    2018-10-29 10:45

    Glossed over too much and jumps around much more than is strictly necessary, but presented a clear trend and was a great read.

  • Caleb
    2018-11-16 07:39

    I found it very interesting and quite easy to read. It held my attention throughout each chapter. Well written in my opinion.

  • Gee
    2018-11-12 13:40

    American Caesars is an easy-to-read look at the lives of American Presidents from FDR to George W Bush. Each presidency was addressed in three sections - The road to the White House; The presidency; and the president's private life in which the various (or singular) romantic and family lives of each was addressed. Drawing on previous research as well as his own, Nigel Hamilton has brought together an impressive review of each man and although I detected a slight anti-Republican slant at times (only very slight), I still nonetheless found the book enlightening on the power each man held while in office along with, more importantly, the opportunities for positive change either simply missed or disappointingly scotched by the reality of politics. As I said at the outset, it's an extremely easy-to-read book. Hamilton's style makes you feel like you're reading a well-written novel only the characters are all too real. It's also instructive in understanding the current state of play in American politics, demonstrating that the entrenched attitudes of the main political players is truly a constant. There were some truly noble men who held the presidency, upon whom history has passed a kinder judgement, and there were some incredibly flawed men as well - I had not fully understood how flawed until I read this book. If you have an interest in American/presidential politics, this is a very enjoyable read. If you don't, it's an interesting read nonetheless and a great way to get a brief understanding of just how the most powerful political post in the world works, how it's viewed in the context of American domestic culture, the sort of people who make it to the presidency and the impact they can have on the world whilst they're there.

  • Alice Rose
    2018-11-11 06:46

    This is a pretty long book, but it was written so well that it felt like reading a novel rather than a piece of non-fiction. The book covers the lives of the twelve presidents from FDR to George W. Bush. Each chapter is broken up into three parts; the road to the White House, the presidency, and private life.I have to say I'm quite ignorant of American politics, though clearly the Democrat and Republican parties are mirrored by the UK's Labour and Conservative, respectively. The life of each president is summed up in less than 50 pages each, with enough detail to get a good picture of what each of them was like. The last chapter on George W. Bush was obviously very fun for Hamilton to write, as he completely ripped into him as probably the least competent president ever to set foot in the White House.I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and again am astonished at the deceit and arrogance of most politicians out there today.

  • Deborah LaRoche
    2018-11-13 06:51

    This is a concise, well-written collection of biographies of US Presidents from FDR to George W. Bush. Written by a British guy, I was first impressed with his impartiality and sense of objectivity, however, as I moved into the parts of history I have lived through and been aware of (say, from Reagan to Bush II), he revealed more of a liberal bias. That, or maybe he just can't stand the Bush family and their advisors for all that they did (and didn't do) in terms of foreign policy and international security during their terms as Presidents. As a liberal Democrat myself, though, I still felt like he got most of it right.Warning: After reading this book, you will have less respect for the majority of our presidents if you value marital fidelity at all. Sheesh. Keep it in your pants, gentlemen.

  • Diane
    2018-10-28 14:03

    Synopsis from Book List: In explicit emulation of Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, Hamilton presents character sketches of U.S. presidents since 1945, excluding Barack Obama. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The book starts with FDR and finishes with George W. Bush. Each chapter discusses the president before the presidency, during the presidency and aspects of his personal life. With approximately 40 pages given to each president, only certain points are highlighted and there is a bit of the author's slant given to each.Personally, while I found the information interesting, I had a hard time reading the book and ended up skimming through some of the presidents. What was interesting was how some of them (Reagan, Kennedy for example) are viewed today given their actions while in the White House.

  • Kieran
    2018-11-06 11:38

    While not able to go into much detail on any of the Presidents, each man got a good summary, and generally a fair and balanced one too- especially men such as Gerald Ford or Bush Senior, who've not been given an easy ride by public opinion so far.Unfortunately, I think Nigel Hamilton might have let his opinion on the 43rd President distort his judgement... although I'm no fan of the man either, that chapter did read as more of a condemnation of the 46th Vice-President... And if that really is how Bush Jnr ran the country (or rather didn't, as Hamilton claimed), then I feel very lucky to have it through to 2009 alive...

  • Jeanene
    2018-11-02 09:58

    This book takes a high level look at each US President from FDR to George W. Bush. It's interesting to read a little about each president consecutively because you notice themes and how there is really no magic formula to be president. Some were born wealthy, other were dirt poor. Some were well educated, some never finished college. The author initially provides an overall objective view point of each president, but as he comes to more recent presidents that changes. His views of the Bush presidents and Clinton are quite slanted, but I enjoyed the book overall.

  • Mark
    2018-11-05 11:59

    A gobsmaking expose of the foibles, incompetencies and downright corruption of those we've always held in such high esteem. We've always understood the dalliances and the decisions of political expediency over good governance, but these guys stretch the boundaries well beyond anything I'd ever imagined, with a few notable exceptions.If anything, a little too much detail in some instances, but possibly more significant to US readers.

  • Stephen Rynkiewicz
    2018-11-16 05:39

    Breezy biographies of the presidents from FDR to Bush, parsed into formative years, public career and personal ethics. Not as much Suetonius as "Lives of the Saints," except they aren't. Occasional lapses in detail (Gerald Ford played for the Michigan State Wolverines?) but the author's choice of broad strokes is the attraction. My father read chapters of the manuscript for the author's brother.

  • Hadrian
    2018-11-02 05:55

    Interesting premise: viewing presidents from Eisenhower onwards with focus on personality as well as achievements, in the style of Suetonius. Falls a bit flat in some areas, but is eloquent in others. One wonders if this book will survive into the distant future and be thought of and used as a source as Suetonius is now?

  • Denis Collins
    2018-11-06 10:45

    This is a big book covering ten American presidents. Each president gets three chapters, road to the presidency, presidency and personal life which makes it easy to read through the more than 500 pages. Not only is it a history of the American presidency but of the 20th and early 21st centuries. I njoyed reading this a lot and would recommend it.

  • Ratforce
    2018-11-13 08:45

    This new book examines the lives of some of the most influential political figures in the world: American presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush. These are the people who have shaped politics for all of us.

  • Vasile
    2018-10-24 05:48

    Very good book

  • Judith
    2018-10-29 10:04

    Excellent book - well worth a read as he covers the US presidents from FDR to 'Dubya' Bush. Learnt so much; it's well-written, informative and I can't recommend it enough.

  • Andy
    2018-10-24 05:50

    A quick, interesting overview. A simple errors throughout hurt its credibility though (Ford went to Michigan, not Michigan State; "Rosalind" Carter?). Nevertheless a good read.

  • Gary Turner
    2018-10-20 11:06

    Really, really enjoyed this book. Much new information i had not heard before. It does seem a couple of our past presidents should have been taken to court for treason.

  • Ann
    2018-11-15 09:58

    You what politics does to people in power. Excellent insight in how the system works and doesn't work.

  • Renee Cutchen
    2018-11-08 05:52

    Again, fact vs fiction hard to define but I enjoy reading about real people and how they lived - famous or infamous.