I just finished reading Presidential Courage by Michael Beschloss. Before reading the book I thought it was just about Wahington, Lincoln, Truman and Reagan, the four presidents on the back cover. It turns out however that the book is also about the courage of Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and John Adams.
Beschloss doesn’t paint these Presidents as one sided heroes. He tells of their strugles and wrong turns and their courgeous acts. It made me optimistic about our country to read about presidents who did the right thing in spite of incredible opposition. Andrew Jackson took on the Bank of the United States which history shows was lending money and thus influencing many elected leaders. Republican Teddy Roosevelt took on trusts that thought they owned the government and especially the Republican party. Ronald Reagan made peace with the Soviets alienating much of the right wing of his party.
As I read Presidential Courage I was intrigued to realize that a President sticking to an unpopular policy could and probably would find validation in this book. He would define what he was doing as presidential courage. Of course if history shows the policy to be bad for the country The president will probably not be remembered as courageous.I wonder is courage is something that only can be measured in the full disclosure of history?
Presidnetial Courage is an interesting, thought provoking and readable book. I recommend it.