Saturday, September 3, 2011

Five best books about one term presidents

John Steele Gordon is the author of Hamilton's Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt (revised edition, 2010).

For the Wall Street Journal he named a five best list of books about one term presidents, including:
A Country of Vast Designs
by Robert W. Merry (2009)

No one-term presidency was as successful or as significant as James K. Polk's. During his tenure in office (1845-49), the country almost doubled in size and became established as a Pacific power. Texas was annexed; the Oregon Territory was peacefully divided with Britain; and Mexico, defeated in war, was forced to cede what is now the American Southwest. None of it would have happened without Polk's singular determination and great political talents. With his health failing, Polk declined to run for re-election; he died three months after leaving office, at age 53. In "A Country of Vast Designs," biographer Robert W. Merry gives us Polk in full but also details the tangled politics of the 1840s—an era that is a historical black hole for many people, illuminated here by an expert light.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue