THE BUCKSTOPS HERE by Thomas Craughwell and Edwin Kiester, Jr.
Fair Winds Press 2010
288 pages including index
The byline of this book is “The 28 toughest Presidential decisions and how they changed the world”, which drew me to this book in the first place. I was intrigued to read what the authors declared the stories to be in the top 28, and why they made it into the book. The first chapter on the Whisky Rebellion was quite good and covered the story very well.
Ok, it’s a sale...I bought one and brought it home.
Now I must say at the beginning of this review, I love chapter books like this. It is fast paced and allows you to take 10 minutes or a whole day for a read; it’s literally up to you.
The book goes chapter by chapter building a case for their pick of top stories, telling you the beginning, middle and end of each story and how it transpired to bring about a change, not only in America but how the decisions were felt around the world. The only one to me personally that did not fit as self evident was the Whiskey Rebellion. It really does fit, but there are pains and a prehistory that must be known to put this story into one of this books byline category. In defense of my statement; or rather, in the defense of the authors (you pick); the authors did do exactly that with the introduction to the book, explaining the scenario.
The book was well researched and documented; over seventy five (75) sources; and brought the reader into the fray of the events that were happening at the time. I liked that it gave you a feel of the everyday person who had little or no knowledge of what was going on, to the turmoil and stress that the Executive Office of the President was facing, both from inside and outside the political wrangling of our country as well as the pressures outside our borders.
I had the opportunity to speak with Thomas Craughwell for an interview for Our History Project and he was a most delightful guest (released on 6-12-10). We covered two (2) chapters of this book in detail; Chapter 1 - “George Washington puts down the Whiskey Rebellion and dooms the Federalist Party” and Chapter 14 “Woodrow Wilson claims an American place at the table of the world”. His knowledge expands so much beyond this book that I look forward to more writings and projects from him.
Pick up “The Buck Stops Here”, you will not be disappointed, it is written in an quick and easy flow for the reader, while maintaining the primary and secondary sources that regardless of your level you will enjoy the read. If you looking to give this as a gift, I would recommend age 10 and up.
Our History Project