Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Best Presidential Writing: From 1789 to the Present (Edited by Craig Fehrman)

America’s near 250-year history as a nation has changed dramatically in how the presidency has been viewed and used by the men who have occupied the office. Their words, or words that have been written for them, reveal much about how they thought, why they acted the way they did, and their beliefs in governing and leadership.

Craig Fehrman has chronicled many of their speeches and excerpts from past books for a collection of The Best Presidential Writing.  While not every White House occupant was granted a seat at this table (sorry James Buchanan and Zachary Taylor, among two examples), many consequential speeches and excerpts from presidential writing were. Fehrman takes great care in showing the reader how the presidency evolved, not only in how they viewed themselves and wrote about themselves, but also in the manner and tone of speeches and addresses that they delivered.

I enjoyed reading The Best Presidential Writing, as it was a reflection of us as a nation, its continual evolution, and how we still have so far to go to become the “more perfect Union” that was outlined in the Constitution’s preamble. Fans of history and biographies will enjoy Fehrman’s curation of writing and speeches and how the story of our nation evolves and is shaped through these men's words.