Update on the upcoming Calvin Coolidge bio by Amity Shlaes

Apparently, there’s a teensy hiccup in the publication date of Amity Shlaes’ eagerly awaited new Coolidge biography, previously scheduled for release in late June. Amity kindly informed by way of commenting on this blog, “that apparently there have been order holdups! Apologies. The book is coming, but not this month. I very much appreciate readers’ patience.” The good news is of course that the major opus is finished, and word is that the delay may be a couple of months at most.

Amity also very graciously makes the offer that “any reader who likes can email for a signed bookplate from me when their copy arrives! My email address for bookplates is amityshlaes@hotmail.com ”  (I guess I should switch my order from Kindle to paper copy …)

And here, courtesy of the Library of Congress Digital Collection, is the image from which the cover image of Amity’s book has been cropped:



Pre-order the new Coolidge biography today!

Update: Amity Shlaes informs per comment, “that apparently there have been order holdups! Apologies. The book is coming, but not this month. I very much appreciate readers’ patience”

She also very graciously makes the offer that “any reader who likes can email for a signed bookplate from me when their copy arrives! My email address for bookplates is amityshlaes@hotmail.com ”  (I guess I should switch my order from kindle to paper copy …)

Finally, the all-new biography of our favorite president is getting closer to a bookstore, mailbox or e-book near you – Amity Shlaes’ “Coolidge” now available for pre-order at amazon (and at Barnes & Noble or your just-around-the-corner bookstore). Release date is June 26.

I must say I like the cover!

Moderately hot for Coolidge

In case you haven’t seen it, David Greenberg -prompted by the news that Michele Bachmann suggested Calvin Coolidge’s mug as a possible addition to Mt. Rushmore– has another post on the popularity of Calvin Coolidge over at Slate. As the author of a biography on Coolidge (not the best one available, by a long shot), Greenberg appears to be Slate’s go-to guy when it comes to the 30th president. Typically for the left-wing slant at Slate, the piece is generally somewhat condescending to Coolidge and contains a number of debatable statements – Coolidge “benefited from Wilson’s wartime spending”? Puh-leeze. The economy was in a bad way when Harding took over from Wilson in 1921, and it took the policies of Harding, Coolidge, and Mellon to turn things around. And it’s somewhat disingenious to complain that wealth in the 1920s grew “unevenly” when it did provide greater incomes and a wider distribution of material goods for a greater number of people than ever before. Plus it seems a little unfair to not only misspell Amity Shlaes’ name, but also to dismiss her as a “right-wing journalist-cum-amateur-economist.” It gets worse when you go on to read the comments on Greenberg’s piece, with Slate regulars regurgitating the old Coolidge stereotypes and misrepresentations.

What’s wrong with Normalcy?

A few days ago (March 4, to be precise) marked the 90th anniversary of the inauguration of Warren G. Harding, predecessor of Calvin Coolidge, and one chief executive who has been much maligned.

Harding and Coolidge (image from the Digital Collection of the Library of Congress)

In an article over at National Review Online, Ryan Cole and Amity Shlaes stress the importance of presidents Harding and Coolidge in restoring the nation to an even keel, removing “regime uncertainty” and making the economic advances of the 1920s possible. For reasons beyond me, this kind of stewardship gets low marks from historians, journalists and armchair analysts. Today, presidents usually are a major source of regime uncertainty, coming into office as they do with the intention of leaving a mark on history in the form of new programs, sweeping changes, and, if they’re lucky, a war or two.

Coolidge Symposium, October 7, 2010

If you’re interested in what latest research and scholarship on Calvin Coolidge have to offer, and if you want to join in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation, mark your calendars October 7th, 2010:

Under the heading “Straight Talk”, a symposium and gala dinner will be held at the JFK Presidential Library & Museum in Boston. Please refer to the links or the uploaded information, or please refer back to this post as new information about scheduled speakers will be added (Amity Shlaes, Joe Thorndike, Jack Bogle, Michael Dukakis, David Pietrusza, John Van Til and Carl S. Anthony are among the authors and scholars invited to speak).

straight talk_front

straight talk_back

A rare NEW Coolidge publication…and website!

Well, lo and behold, the National Notary Association is finally publishing the long-announced essay volume “Why Coolidge Matters: How Civility in Politics Can Bring a Nation Together”, filled with new material from noted Coolidge scholars, among them Amity Shlaes, who is also currently working on a new definitive biography of the 30th president. Why the National Notary Association, you may ask? Apparently, the nation’s notaries are honoring the fact that the candle-lit swearing-in of President Coolidge after the death of his predecessor Harding was performed by his father, a notary public (the ceremony was later reperformed with a different official at the White House, to make sure there was no question as to the constitutional legality). Actually, that is only one reason: the notaries also see a compelling connection between them and Coolidge in his conscientious and selfless conduct. But of course!

Obviously, I’m happy, nay, ecstatic about this publication and its accompanying website offering interesting material (some excellent high-res pictures for instance…I’m downloading a 34 MB (!) picture as I type this). I wonder why the people I contacted at the NNA at least a year ago to get some information about the pending project were unable to help or even get back to me, but all’s well that ends well, I suppose. I can only hope they will be a little more responsive in spreading the good news about this book, which you can order at the NNA website or, of course, from amazon.com.

To me, some of the material on the website appears more than a little questionable, as when the scant section on historical significance characterizes Coolidge as being perceived as bookended between two boisterous and raucous presidents, Harding and Hoover, both of whom were reviled for allowing rampant greed and corruption (my paraphrase). While this is all quite correct concerning Harding, I question whether anyone except the unnamed author would both characterize Hoover as “boisterous and raucous” AND tar him with an undeserved and illusory reputation for corruption. But I fully expect the essays in the book to be on more solid historical ground.

So, excuse me while I hurry to order my copy! I hope this will mark the acceleration of what I think is a trend to reassess the accomplishments and significance of Calvin Coolidge even for our day. And here’s a tip of the hat to the Silent Cal blog, who had it first.

You can see the man was (mostly) serious.