Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Profiles of American Presidents in the 20th Century

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review - Profiles of American Presidents in the 20th Century

About the Book

As Chairman of a Department of Medicine for 26 years, the author has observed the interactions between physical and mental illness in patients frequently. These have occurred  in times of environmental and professional stresses.
        A realization that United States Presidents have had mental and/or physical illnesses at critical times during their administration is very important for our country. This book, "Profiles of American Presidents in the Twentieth Century: Merits and Maladies", discusses these issues relating to all 17 U.S. Presidents in the twentieth century when over 70 million people died in military conflicts. The past failure to use the 25th amendment in such times of crises has implications for the future of the country. In addition to the text, there are over 120 pictures in the book.

        See below for highlights of issues about each 20th century President!


  • Thomas Woodrow Wilson – son of minister with denial of his physical illnesses; severe depression with death of wife; multiple strokes secondary to smoking and atherosclerosis; World War I, Versailles Treaty and League of Nations failure; nation with disabled President for final 16 months of Wilson Presidency
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt – polio at age 39 with lower extremity paralysis: degree of disability kept secret because FDR felt public would not respect a cripple as President; heavy smoker, hypertension, atherosclerosis, heart failure; multiple anonymous hospital admissions during World War II; division of Europe at Yalta Conference with Stalin and Churchill; U.S. represented by a terminally ill President at Yalta who died of stroke 8 months later

  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy – sickly childhood with low blood pressure, stomach and back pain; several health crises led to his receiving the last rites of the Catholic Church; diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency in London; PT boat 109 heroics; misrepresented to public during Presidential election campaign as healthy and vigorous young man; assassinated during final term

My Take on the Book
I have read quite a few books on the American Presidents in the past, so when I saw this book I was interested to see what it had in store and whether it would illuminate anything further than some of the other books than I had read in the past. 

What I was interested in was that it was not written by a person with multiple degrees in History, but instead by a person who has an interest in the field and who is using his background as a doctor to look at Presidents in a different light as he feels that the health of many of our 20th Century Presidents has drastically impacted our country in many ways that you would not normally expect. 

What I like about this book was that it does not talk above the reader, and instead it uses language that all can understand and is very straight forward in its points about the Presidents. 

This book is an amazing look at our Presidents and how their health may or may not have effected their judgement as President. I truly enjoyed it and found it to be a fresh look at our Presidents. I highly recommend this book!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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