Worst. President. Ever: James Buchanan, The POTUS Rating Game, And The Legacy Of The Least Of The Lesser Presidents by Robert Strauss is a biography of the 15th President, examining his legacy, and other Presidents who might be worthy of this dubious title. Mr. Strauss is an educator, and was a reporter for Sports Illustrated, a writer, producers, and has over 1,000 published stories in prominent publications.
- 304 pages
- Publisher : Lyons Press
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1493024833
I was introduced to the book Worst. President. Ever by Robert Strauss while visiting James Buchanan’s home, Wheatland, in Lancaster, PA. Much like the author, I enjoy visiting presidential homes (and obviously The Simpsons) and this one was a short driving distance for us.
It took me awhile to pick up the book, but I’m glad I did. This is not your usual history book, it’s full of wit and charm, where the author attempts to rate other presidents, and gives his reasoning at to their placements. The light tone, however, does not replace substance.
I didn’t realize the how qualified James Buchanan was to be president before he took office. His career included being a congressman of both houses to his home state of PA, a minister to Russia under Andrew Jackson’s administration (whom the author compares to a mob boss), ambassador to the Court of St. James, and other accomplishments, not the least being electable.
One of the main reasons Buchanan is considered the “worst president ever” is his support, and manipulation behind the scenes to the Dred Scott Decisions (1857), where it was decided that African Americans must obey the law but are not protected by it. The case is also made, that Buchanan was a consequential actor in getting Abraham Lincoln elected, since he didn’t support Stephen A. Douglas and fractured the Democrat Party, giving Lincoln a path to victory.
The author goes on many tangents and breaks the timeline often. Nevertheless, its an interesting book which quotes liberally from other biographies.
James Buchanan is not portrayed as a monster in this book, nor even as a bad administrator. He was arrogant indecisive and unwilling to listen to advice. He was a very capable, a civil gentleman, excellent lawyer, people person, and active in his community. He wasn’t gay as many say but was heartbroken when, Ann Coleman, the love of his life committed suicide. With all his bureaucratic experience, however, he had no idea how to lead and blew it when it came to saving the union.
Which is why he is known as the Worst. President. Ever!
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I bought this book.
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