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Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to Fight Presidents

How to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country, Daniel O'Brien, Three Rivers Press, 2014

Did you know that a number of former American Presidents would fit in quite well in a Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger action film? Imagine that they now want to beat you to a pulp. What do you do?

Thomas Jefferson designed his own tombstone (among many other things). He intentionally left out any mention of his time as President, because he didn't think it was that important. To quote from this book, "If "leaving your Presidency off of your tombstone" isn't the nineteenth-century equivalent of "walking away from an explosion without turning around to look at it," then I don't know what is." John Quincy Adams was involved in fighting the British when he was eight years old (What were you doing at eight years old?). He also swam the width of the Potomac every day at 5 AM, and thought that having sex outside in the snow was a good idea. James Madison may have been short and scrawny, but he did grab a couple of pistols and a horse, and rode out to the front lines to fight the British during the War of 1812 (as a sitting President).

It takes a peculiar amount of ego and ambition to want to be President, but Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson belongs in a category by himself. At age thirteen, as a British prisoner of war, Jackson was forced to march forty miles, barefoot, with an undressed head wound, and suffering from smallpox. If there were no wars to fight, Jackson liked real duels. On one occasion, Jackson allowed the other man to shoot first. The bullet almost hit his heart. Jackson then shot and killed the other man.

If a person wanted a private word with Lyndon Johnson, the person frequently had to follow Johnson into the bathroom and watch him poop. Johnson's sexual conquest numbers, while President, were comparable to John Kennedy, the King of Presidential Sexual Conquests. Chester Arthur is compared to Lex Luthor, and Ronald Reagan is compared to Wolverine. William Howard Taft once got stuck in a bathtub; it took four men to extricate him. The biography of Calvin Coolidge reads like the origins of a serial killer. Every day, Herbert Hoover played a game with his friends called Hooverball. Think of volleyball played with a ten-pound medicine ball.

Get past the foul language in this book, and this is a huge eye-opener. The reader will look at the past inhabitants of the Oval Office in a whole new way. It's also really funny. This is highly recommended for everyone.  

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