American Caesars - Hamilton, Nigel - Yale University Press
Political Science

American Caesars

Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

  • Nigel Hamilton
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Out of Print.

Honorable Mention in the General Non-Fiction category of the 2010 Los Angeles Book Festival

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 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.

A distinguished biographer, Nigel Hamilton is senior fellow in the McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts, Boston, and President of Biographers International Organization.


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