From the early years of our nation's history, when George Washington wrote his humble yet powerful Farewell Address, to our current age, when Barack Obama delivered his moving speech on the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, America's presidents have upheld a tradition of exceptional writing. Now, for the first time, the greatest presidential writings in history are united in one treasury: the very best campaign orations, early autobiographies, presidential speeches, postpresidential reflections, and much more.
Craig Fehrman, author of the bestseller Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote has collected some of the best presidential speeches, memoirs, and other writings to create both a valuable reference and a thought-provoking journey through American history. The author chooses writings from nearly every president, allowing the reader to discover first-hand how the office and role of the Chief Executive has evolved ... This volume is both an excellent historical narrative and reference volume of an exceptional selection of the top-quality writings of that unique institution that is the American presidency.
Readers of Craig Fehrman’s slam-bang fantastic book Author in Chief have been expecting a volume like this follow-up, The Best Presidential Writing. That earlier volume was a rousing, fascinating tour of all the different kinds of writing US Presidents have produced over the country’s two centuries, telling the stories of the stories, the biographies of these works, both the well-known ones and the obscure ones. This follow-up gives readers the writings themselves ... though the book thus ends on a flat, tinny note, it’s still a veritable symphony of presidential faux-profundity, the perfect pairing with Author in Chief and a must-read for the autumn book season.
Craig Fehrman’s anthology [...] arrives at either the best possible moment for such a book, or the worst ... There is a lot of excellent writing here, some of it from the pens of nameless ghostwriters (even George Washington, Mr. Fehrman reminds us, borrowed heavily from his friends), but all of it chosen and shaped by the chief ... Has [Fehrman] chosen the 'best' presidential writing, or are these selections meant to tell the American 'story'? It’s not a book to be read cover to cover, as your faithful reviewer did, but I sometimes had the sense that selections were made based on the importance of the president rather than the quality of the writing ... The best parts of The Best Presidential Writing are taken from the least-known works.