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Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into…

Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and… (2016)

by Brady Carlson

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This book details a great deal more about the 'afterlives' portion of its title than it does presidential deaths. This vague topic leaves the author a lot of room to cast his net widely, and so he does; presidential reputations, descendants, libraries, statues, and tombs end up getting the most emphasis. The author is talented, with a fine appreciation of the striking, or just plain fun, fact which he runs across, and his asides about his travels to the various sites are amusing as well. I liked the book best when he took us down history's backroads; his extensive treatments of well-worn topics such as Jefferson and Hemings, George Washington, and JFK and Dallas were to me slightly tiresome. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | May 30, 2017 |
An episodic look at the presidency but only after the presidents have died. The author skips from era to era trying to find similarities in things like the way funerals are handled, how the presidents died, how their graves were marked etc. It is a bit uneven as some presidents get a lot of print (Kennedy) and others very little (Coolidge and Van Buren) for instance. I did learn a lot of trivia about various administrations. The book would be interesting to history scholars and history buffs. ( )
  muddyboy | Jul 3, 2016 |
One of those fun type of books to read on interesting and amusing topics surrounding our country's leadership from the past. Emphasis on the past here because these gentlemen are no longer with us of course. Not every president is covered here but the variety is there and lots of entertaining stories tied to a theme that we all eventually face up to down the road. ( )
  knightlight777 | May 16, 2016 |
This amusing and informative book focusses on what the author calls the "afterlives" of our presidents. He looks at where and how they were buried (sometimes this process was far from simple), how their reputations have been managed after death (ah, those presidential libraries!), and at how history has judged them. A lot of this is amusing trivia -- my favorite is the historical marker noting that Chester A. Arthur once lived in a house that has now become my favorite fancy grocery -- but there is nothing wrong with amusing trivia, particularly for history buffs. And some of it is perceptive enough to open up new ways of thinking about things that we have smoothed into historical tropes. A hundred years after Kennedy's assassination, will it have retreated into history as McKinley's did, or remain as emotionally loaded as Lincoln's. This new slant on the presidents reminded me a bit of Sarah Vowell's "Assassination Vacation"; for one thing , it suggests a new sort of road trip. But only a few of the presidents were assassinated, ad Carlson's book is very interesting -- and great fun -- entirely on its own. . ( )
  annbury | Apr 22, 2016 |
This is an entertaining look at a facet of presidential history never studied in school – what happens to our leaders’ stories after they die. This is definitely a good book for anyone who loves American history, trivia and our presidents! ( )
  Susan.Macura | Apr 10, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393243931, Hardcover)

An entertaining exploration into the varied ways we remember and memorialize the American presidents.

In Dead Presidents, NPR host Brady Carlson takes readers to presidential gravesites, monuments, and memorials to tell the death stories of our greatest leaders. Mixing biography and travelogue, Carlson explores whether William Henry Harrison really died of a cold, why Zachary Taylor’s remains were exhumed 140 years after his death, and how what killed James A. Garfield wasn’t an assassin’s bullet. He tells the surprising stories of the Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, and Grant’s Tomb. And he explains why “Hooverball” is still played in Iowa, why Millard Fillmore’s final resting place is beside that of funk legend Rick James, and why Ohio and Alaska continue to battle over the name of Mt. McKinley. With an eye for neglected places and offbeat people reminiscent of Tony Horwitz and Sarah Vowell, Carlson shows that the ways we memorialize our presidents reveal as much about us as about the men themselves. 25 illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 26 Sep 2015 17:46:57 -0400)

An entertaining exploration into the varied ways we remember and memorialize the American presidents. --Publisher.

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