Focus Point - The Other Presidents

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. While you're voting for President today, I'd like to recommend a new book that mixes scholarship and accessibility in telling the stories of the other Presidents.

It's the reader's companion to the American presidency, edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, with essays on all the Presidents, sidebars on the first families and timelines. Each is written by a scholar familiar with the President and his era.

You can be reminded of why names in a history book were great men, such as James Madison or good ones, like Grover Cleveland. You can learn more about little-known successes, like James K. Polk, or failures like William Howard Taft. Almost equally intriguing are sections on men about whom most Americans know nothing, from Franklin Pierce to Rutherford B. Hayes.

But it is full of interesting information, so after you have voted, give it a look.

Of course, the collection isn't perfect; it couldn't be, given the variety of subjects and authors.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, Explaining the Uninsured.