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Calvin Coolidge by David Greenberg
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Silent Cal is usually lumped with Harding and Hoover as the low-ranked gap between activists Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. But there's more to him than meets the eye. He was the first US President to make extensive use of the broadcast medium - in this case, radio - to reach out to the American public as a whole. Following Harding, Coolidge increased the use of the burgeoning advertising industry to manage his public image. His approach to governing - lowering taxes, cutting spending, deregulating business - foreshadowed Reagan, and was occasionally cited by Reagan as an inspiration.

Coolidge governed during one of the strongest boom times, the Roaring Twenties, and left office just a few months before the crash of '29 and the start of the Great Depression. Looking back from the other side of those bad times, it's clear that things were about to go so wrong. But as Greenberg points out, seeing Coolidge only from that perspective gives a skewed picture of the man. A fuller picture, says Greenberg, is one of a man bridging the gap between 19th century values and 20th century culture.

Recommended. This is a pretty good entry in the American Presidents series. ( )
  drneutron | Feb 28, 2012 |
As a biography, this was easy to read and seems complete (this is my first biography of Calvin Coolidge). One thing that struck me was that I got the sense Mr. Greenberg was tamping or doing his best to stifle his political beliefs to write this book. I don't doubt the information he presents is accurate, but I believe it may be tinted to downplay any positives President Coolidge achieved. ( )
  HistReader | Jan 19, 2012 |
This is a rather straightforward biography of our 30th President. The author does not seem to be very enthusiastic about his subject or his policies.
The book is a reasonable introduction to the presidential term of Calvin Coolidge however. ( )
  xieouyang | Dec 13, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805069577, Hardcover)

The austere president who presided over the Roaring Twenties and whose conservatism masked an innovative approach to national leadership
 
He was known as "Silent Cal." Buttoned up and tight-lipped, Calvin Coolidge seemed out of place as the leader of a nation plunging headlong into the modern era. His six years in office were a time of flappers, speakeasies, and a stock market boom, but his focus was on cutting taxes, balancing the federal budget, and promoting corporate productivity. "The chief business of the American people is business," he famously said.

But there is more to Coolidge than the stern capitalist scold. He was the progenitor of a conservatism that would flourish later in the century and a true innovator in the use of public relations and media. Coolidge worked with the top PR men of his day and seized on the rising technologies of newsreels and radio to bring the presidency into the lives of ordinary Americans--a path that led directly to FDR's "fireside chats" and the expert use of television by Kennedy and Reagan. At a time of great upheaval, Coolidge embodied the ambivalence that many of his countrymen felt. America kept "cool with Coolidge," and he returned the favor.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:54 -0400)

A portrait of America's thirtieth president looks at the conservative policies that marked his leadership, including cutting taxes, balancing the federal budget, and promoting corporate productivity, as well as his innovative use of public relations.

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