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Citizen-In-Chief
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About the Author

Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss are husband and wife and the coauthors of Brooklyn by Name. Their writing has been published in The New York Review of Books, New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, and elsewhere. They live in Brooklyn, New York, with their son and daughter. Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss are husband and wife and the coauthors of Brooklyn by Name. Their writing has been published in The New York Review of Books, New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, and elsewhere. They live in Brooklyn, New York, with their son and daughter.

Reviews

George W. Bush should find some consolation in this book, since one lesson it teaches is that no matter how unpopular a President was when he left office, he found a way to rehabilitate his image and recover at least some of his popularity. Benardo and Weiss (Brooklyn by Name) explore the post-presidential lives of all former presidents through Bill Clinton and give the reader plenty of well-documented information along the way. The opening segment, "Getting Solvent," shows how former presidents made their livings before Congress authorized a pension for them in 1958, while "War, Conflict and the Ex-Presidency" shows the complications ex-Presidents have caused their successors during times of international crisis. For example, John Tyler went on to serve in the Confederate Congress during the Civil War, and Herbert Hoover preached isolationism until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. In "On the Road Again" and "Return to Politics," the authors describe how a number of former Presidents continued to be active in government and politics after they left the White House. In the final section, "The Greater Good," former Presidents' philanthropic and diplomatic endeavors are detailed, especially those of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The authors offer critical analysis where appropriate, and they relate many entertaining personal anecdotes. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Jill Ortner, SUNY at Buffalo Libs. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Eight presidents died in office, leaving 34 whose subsequent careers make up this remarkably revealing history. Journalists Benardo and Weiss (coauthors of Brooklyn by Name) point out that America's founders believed pensions smacked of royal privilege, so ex-presidents were on their own. Some have handled the transition more gracefully than others. The invariably sensible George Washington remained solvent, while Jefferson, Madison and Monroe accumulated mountains of debt and died penniless. After the Civil War, entering business became acceptable, but in Grant's case, poor judgment led to disaster. Only when Truman, uninterested in exploiting his name, moved in with his mother-in-law did Congress vote pensions in 1958. Soon after, riches awaited those willing to speak and write memoirs. The authors dub John Quincy Adams and Jimmy Carter our leading postpresidents. Adams served 17 years in the House, a leading antislavery advocate. Carter's diplomatic and humanitarian activities won him a 2002 Nobel Prize. Even without a formal post, say the authors, "just a handful of former presidents have withdrawn into anonymity," and this well-researched, opinionated account does a fine job of filling a surprisingly empty historical niche. (Feb. 10) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"[A] remarkably revealing history..this well-researched, opinionated account does a fine job of filling a surprisingly empty historical niche." -- Publishers Weekly
"Appealing to both general readers and history geeks....[A] readable approach to a significant aspect of presidential history that doesn't always receive the treatment it deserves."--Kirkus Reviews
"The afterlife of a president, a dimming of the spotlight and a final chance at buffing the reputation, can sometimes be more interesting than the presidency itself--at least it is in this engrossing book. Benardo and Weiss tell a fascinating tale."--Richard Cohen, columnist, Washington Post
"[A] remarkably revealing history....this well-researched, opinionated account does a fine job of filling a surprisingly empty historical niche."--Publishers Weekly
"A lively, insightful, and illuminating examination of an underexamined yet influential American institution: the postpresidency. Benardo and Weiss show how our chief executives' 'second lives' are as diverse--and as rich in uplifting tales and cautionary ones--as their time at the pinnacle of power."--Strobe Talbott, president, The Brookings Institution
Appealing to both general readers and history geeks. [A] readable approach to a significant aspect of presidential history that doesn t always receive the treatment it deserves. --Kirkus Reviews"
[A] remarkably revealing history. this well-researched, opinionated account does a fine job of filling a surprisingly empty historical niche. --Publishers Weekly"
A lively, insightful, and illuminating examination of an underexamined yet influential American institution: the postpresidency. Benardo and Weiss show how our chief executives second lives are as diverse and as rich in uplifting tales and cautionary ones as their time at the pinnacle of power. --Strobe Talbott, president, The Brookings Institution"
The afterlife of a president, a dimming of the spotlight and a final chance at buffing the reputation, can sometimes be more interesting than the presidency itself at least it is in this engrossing book. Benardo and Weiss tell a fascinating tale. --Richard Cohen, columnist, Washington Post"

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