[February 12, 2020] I know what you’re thinking already if you skipped this intro and went straight to read this Reading List choice. How in the world could he write a review on “The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge”? Does he think we’re boring or ahistorical or just plain brain dead? “Silent Cal”? Come on! My good readers, please bear with me as I lay out a case for this book. First, unlike other autobiographies of today’s politicians, Coolidge writes about those significant influences of his life and does so in a book short in length but long on quality explanations. Second, Coolidge displayed many of the essential qualities I push in my daily blog; things like being a hard worker, dedicated to the task at hand, humble, honorable, and a man of integrity. And third, he gives an interesting perspective to today’s issues and in a surprisingly charming way.
The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, Calvin Coolidge, 1929
Calvin Coolidge was a lawyer, governor, and the 30th President of the United States. He succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923 but elected in his own right in 1924. Coolidge gained a reputation as a small-government conservative and also as a man who had a quiet demeanor and had a dry sense of humor. He was, indeed, an admirable man. It should come as no surprise that Coolidge wrote that no one should degrade another person and that good law is made by treating members of the other party with respect and dignity. This book is a primer on how a president should act. As such, it can be argued as a literary classic.
This autobiography is a relatively quick and easy read; its chapters covering his rise to governor and, ultimately, as President. These are the most engaging chapters. Several well-known critics point to a paragraph that truly sets forth, Coolidge’s philosophy of his presidency. “In ethics, He taught us that there is a standard of righteousness, that might does not make right, that the end does not justify the means and that expediency as a working principle is bound to fail. The only hope of perfecting human relationship is in accordance with the law of service under which men are not so solicitous about what they shall get as they are about what they shall give. Yet people are entitled to the rewards of their industry. What they earn is theirs, no matter how small or how great.” Coolidge is one of the most underrated presidents in U.S. history. He strove to get along with everyone and be cordial even in disagreement. His autobiography was popular reading at the time of its publication.
A classic. This book is highly recommended.
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