Being the 30th president of the United States doesn't mean you get the respect you deserve, at least according to the author of "Coolidge". Calvin Coolidge inherited the White House in 1923 after the death of Warren G. Harding, and was not elected as president on his own merits until two years later. He never rated highly in voter satisfaction polls and he's most remembered for being the president who governed in the years right before the Great Depression.
Coolidge's story begins in Vermont's Plymouth Notch, where he was born to a state legislator father. He grew up in the world of politics, and began his career himself at a young age. By the time he became president in 1923, Coolidge was governing a nation that was quickly developing scientifically and medically as well as politically. During his career, Coolidge saw most Americans install electricity in their homes and purchase t heir first cars. Modern America was born during this time.
Coolidge discusses its namesake's discipline and composure, his success in reducing the federal budget and his role in helping the economy thrive through high wages and low taxes. The book strives to be a true tale of historical fact, and there is even a downloadable reference guide to help understand the president's role in American history. It is worth mentioning, however, that the author may be a little biased as a trustee of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation.
Amity Shlaes is a writer known for her work within politics and economics. Her last novel, The Forgotten Man, was about Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt and the role of big government in Great Depression. Shlaes, a former editor at The Wall Street Journal, is currently a senior fellow and director of the Four Percent Project at the George W. Bush Institute. She also serves as a Bloomberg View columnist.
Calvin Coolidge, who served as president from 1923 to
1929, never rated highly in polls. The shy Vermonter, nicknamed “Silent Cal”,
has long been dismissed as quiet and passive. History has remembered the decade
in which he served as the frivolous, extravagant period predating the Great
Depression. Now Amity Shlaes, the author known for her riveting, unexpected
portrait of the 1930s, provides a similarly fresh look at the 1920s and its
elusive president. Shlaes shows that the mid-'20s was, in fact, a triumphant
period that established our modern way of life: the nation electrified,
Americans drove their first cars, and the federal deficit was replaced with a
surplus. Coolidge is an eye-opening biography of the little-known president
behind that era of remarkable growth and national optimism.
Although Coolidge was sometimes considered old-fashioned,
he was the most modern of presidents, advancing not only the automobile trade
but also aviation, through his spirited support of Charles Lindbergh.
Coolidge’s discipline and composure, Shlaes reveals, represented not weakness
but strength. First as governor of Massachusetts then as president, Coolidge
proved unafraid to take on the divisive issues of this crucial period: reining
in public-sector unions, unrelentingly curtailing spending, and rejecting
funding for new interest groups.
Perhaps more than any other president, Coolidge
understood that doing less could yield more. He reduced the federal budget
during his time in office even as the economy grew, wages rose, tax rates fell,
and unemployment dropped. As a husband, father, and citizen, the 30th president
made an equally firm commitment to moderation, shunning lavish parties and
special presidential treatment; to him, the presidency was not a bully pulpit
but a place for humble service. Overcoming private tragedy while in office,
including the death of a son, Coolidge showed the nation how to persevere by
persevering himself. For a nation looking for a steady hand, he was a welcome
In this illuminating, magisterial biography, Amity Shlaes
finally captures the remarkable story of Calvin Coolidge and the decade of
extraordinary prosperity that grew from his leadership.
Download and start listening now!