Dead Presidents

Dead Presidents

An American Adventure Into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of Our Nation's Leaders

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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To public radio host and reporter Brady Carlson, the weighty responsibilities of being president never end. As Carlson sees it, the dead presidents (and the ways we remember them) tell us a great deal about ourselves, our history, and how we imagine our past and future. For American presidents, there is life after death--it's just a little weird.In Dead Presidents, Carlson takes readers on an epic trip to presidential gravesites, monuments, and memorials from sea to shining sea. With an engaging mix of history and contemporary reporting, Carlson recounts the surprising origin stories of the Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore, Grant's Tomb, and JFK's Eternal Flame. He explores whether William Henry Harrison really died of a cold, how the assassin's bullet may not have been what killed James A. Garfield, and why Zachary Taylor's remains were exhumed 140 years after he died. And he explains the strange afterlives of the presidents, including why "Hooverball" is still played in Iowa, why Millard Fillmore's final resting place is next to that of funk legend Rick James, why "Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?" became a running gag for Groucho Marx, why Ohio and Alaska fought for so long over the name of Mt. McKinley (now known as Denali), and why we exalt dead presidents not just with public statues and iconic paintings but with kitschy wax dummies, Halloween costumes, and bobblehead dolls.With an infectious passion for history and an eye for neglected places and offbeat characters reminiscent of Tony Horwitz and Sarah Vowell, Carlson shows that the ways we memorialize our presidents reveal as much about us as it does about the men themselves.
Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton & Company,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780393243932
0393243931
Branch Call Number: 973.099 Carlson 2016
Characteristics: xii, 324 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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m
Modernangelo
Oct 18, 2017

Carlson’s book is a fascinating look both at the history of presidential deaths and - perhaps more importantly - how they are remembered by We The People after they’re gone. Told in a casual, story-like time and fashion, it’s not a hard read, but you’re guaranteed to learn something and keep thinking about it long after you’re done reading it.

d
Dannyboy2452
Feb 01, 2017

This book is lots of fun and manages to find an engaging angle on a topic that has been done to death;)

MmeLeChat May 22, 2016

I totally enjoyed reading this entertaining, informative book. The author's wry comments are "frosting on the cake."

m
moviefan01
Apr 30, 2016

i'd recommend this title if you like books by Sarah Vowell or Tony Horwitz. Engaging and informative, but the author does seem to skip back and forth a bit between past and recent presidents.

g
GummiGirl
Apr 01, 2016

Informative and--given the subject matter--fairly light-hearted. Very similar to Sarah Vowell's books, especially "Assassination Vacation."

BostonPL_LauraB Mar 02, 2016

This was a fun book that had some great tidbits about the deaths of former Presidents and how they have been remembered and such. Some parts were more interesting than others and therefore, this book wasn't quite the quick read I was hoping it would be. It also was organized pretty haphazardly, and the writing wasn't necessarily the best. But overall it was an interesting book and I think that if you are looking for something a little lighter to read, but still informational, this would be a good choice - just don't be afraid to skip over some of the less-interesting parts.

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