Presidential Diversions: Presidents at Play from George Washington to George W. Bush

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 419 pages
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Paul F. Boller, Jr.’s widely admired and bestselling anecdotal histories have uncovered new aspects and hidden dimensions in the lives of our presidents. Now he turns to an uncharted—but unexpectedly revealing—element of our leaders’ personalities as he brings us stories of what the presidents did for fun.

In thumbnail portraits of every president through George W. Bush, Boller chronicles their taste in games, sports, and cultural activities. George Washington had a passion for dancing and John Quincy Adams skinny-dipped in the Potomac; Grover Cleveland loved beer gardens and Woodrow Wilson made a failed effort to write fiction; Calvin Coolidge cherished his afternoon naps, as did Lyndon Johnson his four-pack-a-day cigarette habit; Jimmy Carter was a surprisingly skilled high diver and Bush Senior loved to parachute. The sketches revitalize even the most familiar of our leaders, showing us a new side of our presidents—and their presidencies.

 

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On page 256, there is a slight error. The Vermont judge Eisenhower fished with was Judge Milford K. Smith, not Milford R. Smith. I know - he was my dad.

Contents

The Dignified George Washington
1
The Conscientious John Adams
13
The Gifted Thomas Jefferson
23
The Learned James Madison
35
The Unpretentious James Monroe
42
The Aquatic John Quincy Adams
48
The TwoFisted Andrew Jackson
55
The HighToned Martin Van Buren
63
The Kindly William McKinley
166
The Energetic Theodore Roosevelt
173
The Portly William Howard Taft
188
The Scholarly Woodrow Wilson
195
The Bloviating Warren G Harding
205
The Laconic Calvin Coolidge
212
The Diligent Herbert Hoover
221
The Resourceful Franklin D Roosevelt
229

The Amiable William Henry Harrison
70
The Hospitable John Tyler
75
The Assiduous James K Polk
81
The Unpretentious Zachary Taylor
86
The Earnest Millard Fillmore
91
The Convivial Franklin Pierce
96
The Fastidious James Buchanan
101
The Mirthful and Melancholy Abraham Lincoln
106
The Plebeian Andrew Johnson
121
The Undemonstrative Ulysses S Grant
126
The Studious Rutherford B Hayes
134
The Bookish James A Garfield
139
The Leisurely Chester A Arthur
145
The Doughty Grover Cleveland
152
The Austere Benjamin Harrison
160
The PlainSpeaking Harry S Truman
240
The GolfPlaying Dwight D Eisenhower
250
The Dashing Young John F Kennedy
263
The Frenetic Lyndon B Johnson
274
The SportsLoving Richard M Nixon
282
The Agile Gerald R Ford
293
The NatureLoving Jimmy Carter
302
The MovieStruck Ronald Reagan
312
The FastPaced George Herbert Walker Bush
326
The Unflappable Bill Clinton
336
The Physically Fit George W Bush
348
Acknowledgments
357
Notes
359
Index
395
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

PAUL F. BOLLER, JR., is a professor emeritus at Texas Christian University. Among his fifteen published books are the bestselling Presidential Anecdotes, Presidential Campaigns, and Presidential Wives. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

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