Looking for a grand historical drama in which great men undergo great trials in pursuit of great deeds? Well, this is not that book. The great men in Cormac O’Brien’s survey of America’s presidential pantheon are at their laziest, their craziest, and their strangest. Some of the revelations here are old news - Jefferson’s sexual dalliances with his slaves, for example, or Lincoln’s free hand with pardons for soldiers facing executions. Others are truly startling. (Next time some talk-radio pundit accuses a president of gambling away the country’s money, consider that Warren G. Harding actually bet with the presidential china in poker games!) Not Pulitzer material, but Robin Bloodworth’s sure narration makes this a great choice for a long drive.
Your high school history teachers never gave you a book like this one! Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents features outrageous and uncensored profiles of the men in the White House - complete with hundreds of little-known, politically incorrect, and downright wacko facts. You’ll discover that:
With chapters on everyone from George Washington to Barack Obama, Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents tackles all the tough questions that other history books are afraid to ask: How many of these guys were cheating on their wives? Are there really secret tunnels underneath the White House? And what was Nancy Reagan thinking when she appeared on Diff’rent Strokes? American history was never this much fun in school!
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes definitely it was very interesting and shed light on an important subject of which I knew less than I had believed!
It's quite fascinating to hear about the early days of America, and to reflect on how much has changed. Hearing about Calvin Coolidge and how he slept for 2-4 hours every afternoon was probably the funniest topic.
The story about President Taft's horse also made me laugh out loud.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Which character – as performed by Robin Bloodworth – was your favourite?
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Betcha didn't know that!
Any additional comments?
Well worth a listen, and actually I might buy the book too as there's interesting factual information I'd be interested to retread.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Beautifully narrated interesting history of the United states.quite an eye opener and often amusing i will listen again
What your teacher didn't tell you is that half of the US presidents cheated on their partners multiple times. Other than that there really isn't much else to the book.
There are better books on the american presidents out there. I would recommend Don't Know Much About American Presidents before reading this. The structure is exactly the same in that it starts with George and ends with Barack. More details in that book but less about the sex.
This is a good book, just the title's a bit misleading,
An interesting book, although I found it a little more interesting from FDR on because they're presidents who I am familiar with ---
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
The author, O'Brien, did not make himself master of his material. Every piece of trivia recounted could be found in a quick web search, and many even more interesting things were left out.
O'Brien made the novice historian's error of presuming to speak for what his subjects wanted or thought without showing evidence that this was the motive behind the policy in question (and obviously ignoring direct evidence from the Presidents' own speeches writings and diaries that contradicts his psychoanalysis. This is compounded by an easy partisanship; partisanship is easier to forgive in a historian who recognizes her/his own biases, but O'Brien has no such sense of self, writing over and over things like "everybody agrees that . . ." or "we can all be thankful that . . ." about issues faced in the past over which reasonable people still differ today.
A good prose style can make up for sloppy history, as in Chesterton's thoroughly enjoyable if unreliable history of England. Sadly O'Brien's prose is lackluster; neither engaging, enraging, or melodious, but in the form of simple un-lyrical statements and lists.
I wanted to like the book, but I simply could not find a purchase from which I could hang any praise for it.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Save your time and go to Wikipedia
Has Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents turned you off from other books in this genre?
No I love history
Would you listen to another book narrated by Robin Bloodworth?
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents?
All this is common knowledge
Any additional comments?
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is an incredible book. The content is very funny and engaging. Also, Robin Bloodworth has the perfect voice for narrating this book. If you have any interest in the U.S. Presidents and are not a prude, then you need to buy this book!
Overall... It was enjoyable! He does give Obama, Clinton, and Carter more praise than deserved. He Raped the Bushes... And was even overly negative regarding the Reagan success saying he was abhorred by many?!?!
3 of 8 people found this review helpful
Very little of the book was information I haven't read before. Google was definitely this author's friend. I'd have given it one more star for effort, but the tone was so over the top snarky for every Republican President. Not an objective study at all.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful
I love hearing about the good and the bad of significant characters in history. This book was right up my alley! I'd say more, but just do yourself a favor and read it...
0 of 2 people found this review helpful