"The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge"

Brian Gongol


One-paragraph review: Calvin Coolidge's reputation as a calm individual with a quiet demeanor keeps him from looming large in the history of the Presidency. But if he was reticent as a speaker, he was an expressive writer, and his autobiography is a terrific reminder to the 21st Century that a President's ability to dominate the news headlines is no measure of Presidential success or failure. Coolidge documents (perhaps self-servingly) a life full of classic American virtues -- hard work, education, patience, and dedication to the tasks of the community at hand. Yet for whatever embellishment his autobiography does (or doesn't) take in these virtues, they are worth reading and emulating, at least as an ideal. Coolidge's autobiography makes for quick and easy reading, and its chapters covering his rise to governor and, ultimately, President are the most engaging of all. We could do far worse than to find modern-day politicians who strive for the same virtues Coolidge readily claimed as his own.

Verdict: An overlooked gem in American political biography

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