Guest Reviewer: Mark Martin
“John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson: eight times a vice president has become the president upon the death of his predecessor—history altered by a heartbeat. This is the story of how these eight men, neither the voter’s nor their party’s choice, dealt with that power and changed history.”
I’m Mark Martin, also known as Mr. Betty Martin, with "Martin’s Must Reads" with an incredible story of men who never expected to be President of the United States. The book Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America by Jared Cohen weaves personal information with the context of history to bring the challenge faced by these eight men to life.
Two of the eight men, Truman, who never wanted to be vice president much less president and Theodore Roosevelt, will turn out to be two of the best presidents this nation has ever had. Others such as John Tyler and Millard Fillmore have been forgotten except for the occasional trivia question. At least one, Calvin Coolidge, was left to clean up a scandal that rivals anything 21st century Washington can offer. The two Johnsons, Andrew and Lyndon, both who were totally unprepared for the job, left scars upon this country from which the nation has yet to heal.
As the author states: the framers of our constitution, for all their wisdom “paid little attention to succession and despite eight deaths in office, the matter of succession has been trivialized by voters, candidates, and lawmakers.” As we head into a presidential election year, Accidental Presidents by Jared Cohen is a great read for politicos and history buffs.