Thursday, August 13, 2009

Presidents - one at a time

I figured I'd chime in after the post today about the U.S. President's Reading Project.
I decided to start this year so in June I began, logically, with a biography of George Washington. I read Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation by Richard Norton Smith.

It only covered his years as president and I realized I wanted to know more about his life before and during the Revolution. It was certainly interesting reading about the presidency. Mainly, I learned that most of our Founding Fathers had differences with each other.

Jefferson and Hamilton were on very different wavelengths and Washington did a lot of intervention there. No one seemed to respect Adams much (or at least the author of the biography didn't have much to say about him). Washington did seem to consider setting precedent and trying to ride a line between setting a formal tone for the office without looking like he was trying to be royalty.

Now I am reading through John Adams by David McCullough. I am about half way through - the Revolution has been won and he is the representative to Great Britain. Obviously in this book Adams is a much more dynamic character with a lot of good traits and accomplishments. ;-) He even got along well with Jefferson when they served in Congress and in Paris together. In this book, it is Franklin who gets short shrift. To that end, I picked up a biography of Franklin to read when I finish John Adams. I'm also interested in reading about Samuel Adams based on some things I've read. John Jay also seems to be an interesting figure. The list goes on....

I am enjoying revisiting early American history. I read with a bit more discernment and enjoy following the links. I know others who are doing the President's project who are not going in chronological order. I can see benefits to that too, but so far I'm enjoying watching the progression through history.

I picked up a copy of Truman by David McCullough, we'll see how long it takes me to get there.

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