Scholastic Encyclopedia of Presidents and Their Times by David Rubel is an excellent presentation of all of the presidencies from George Washington to Barack Obama. The encyclopedia is organized sequentially beginning with Washington. Each president is listed together with his birth date, siblings, presidential term dates, political affiliation, death date, hand signature, and major highlights of the administration.
The presentation also has information about the news headlines, people, and fads that defined America during the time period of each presidency. The photographs of the presidents are very well done. The photos alone are worth the price of the book.
Rubel provides very detailed information on George Washington and the first five administrations. His coverage of modern day presidencies is generally good although not as detailed as a world almanac presentation.
Rubel explains details of the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, the Fair Deal to increase the minimum wage and the National Housing Act under President Truman. The author credits the Eisenhower Administration with the end of the Korean War, a policy to liberate “captive nations,” the famous “Kitchen Debate” and the farewell speech warning about the dangers of a pervasive military-industrial influence.
Rubel credits the Kennedy Administration with a $5 billion dollar space initiative, the Peace Corps and thwarting the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The author provides a good description of the Johnson Administration with kudos for the Great Society, Civil Rights and anti-poverty efforts. He credits the Nixon Administration with successful efforts on detente with China, Strategic Arms Limitation, a balanced budget and the famous “Peace is at hand” proclamation.
Rubel explains the transition from the Nixon resignation to a Ford Administration which sought to restore normalcy to America and get inflation under control. Ford vetoed 48 spending bills and was successful in controlling inflation although higher unemployment remained problematic and contributed to a defeat in his quest for a second term in office.
Rubel credits the Carter Administration with successful bargaining in Salt II, turning the Panama Canal over to Panama and Middle East progress at Camp David. President Carter did not get a second term partly due to the combination of high inflation and unemployment, a tense international incident involving American hostages in Iran and a strong challenge for the Democratic Party nomination in 1980.
Rubel describes how the Reagan Administration wound down the Cold War and negotiated an Intermediate Range Nuclear Force Agreement with the Soviets. At the time Reagan left office, the nation had experienced six consecutive years of economic growth.
The author describes how the first Bush Administration prevailed in Operation Desert Storm and supported Soviet reforms and East European democracy. President George H. W. Bush did not get a second term largely due to a recession with a slow economic recovery.
President Bill Clinton prevailed in the 1992 election. His administration accomplished major trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT. An important peace agreement was crafted for the Middle East, the Oslo Peace Accords. President Clinton left office with a budget surplus, which hadn’t been achieved since the early ’70s.
President George W. Bush (son of George H.W. Bush) was narrowly elected in 2000. His administration brought about a military doctrine of “pre-emptive war” which was used to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Toward the end of his term, the stock market crashed and the U.S. government provided a huge financial bailout to some of the largest financial institutions to provide continuity in the financial markets. The Obama Administration was elected in ’08.
Important hallmarks of the Obama Administration are the stimulus plan to stabilize the economy, Obamacare, winding down the Iraq War and significant progress on getting out of Afghanistan.
The book is an important historical resource for academicians, students and the general public. The presentation is sufficiently detailed to provide readers with a fairly accurate accounting of the accomplishments made in the presidential terms since President George Washington.Powered by Sidelines