Dead Presidents: An American Adventure into the Strange Deaths and Surprising Afterlives of Our Nation's Leaders

Brady Carlson. Norton, $26.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-393-24393-2
Inspired by a lifelong fascination with America's chief executives, Carlson, a reporter and NPR host, adopts a novel perspective on American history by exploring the ways in which past presidents have been remembered and memorialized. Blending political biography and road tours of memorials and monuments across the nation, he digs into the stories beneath each grave and behind every tomb. A lover of details regardless of how grotesque or quirky, Carlson leads a field trip to the resting places of both distinguished and obscure presidents, and gives some interesting death factoids along the way, including that Zachary Taylor's rumored last meal was cherries and buttermilk, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4th 1826, Ulysses S. Grant died of cancer before finishing his memoir, and attending doctors mistakenly killed James Garfield by sticking their fingers in his gunshot wounds. Carlson visits Mt. Rushmore, Grant's Tomb, Arlington National Cemetary, the joke-telling L.B.J. robot at the Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Tex., and Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, NY.—the final resting place of Millard Fillmore as well as singer Rick James. Carlson's book entertains and enlightens, and reminds readers that presidents are also human beings. Photos. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/15/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-393-24394-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-044-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-393-35367-9
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