Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Recarving Rushmore

I recently read Recarving Rushmore by Ivan Eland.

This books ranks our presidents on peace, prosperity, and liberty.  The author says that most presidential rankings rank the presidents on things like charisma which are not really useful for determining what was best for the country.

If nothing else, you can read this book and learn more about the actual things that all past presidents have done.  It is good to see what the actual policies of all the presidents were.  I always questioned what I learned about history in school.  It always seemed like the teachers and books were telling be who was good and who was bad, and my thinking was that I was unsure that they were correct.

His final rankings are interesting.  He doesn't rank Washington, Lincoln, FDR, or Reagan among our "excellent" presidents.  Our "excellent" presidents, it seems, were: John Tyler, Grover Cleveland, Martin Van Buren, and Rutherford B. Hayes.  I've heard that Ron Paul is a fan of Grover Cleveland so he was no surprise.  Before reading this book, I had not heard much about the other three.

According to Ivan Eland we had four "excellent" presidents, six "good" presidents (including Carter), four average presidents (including Clinton), ten "poor" presidents, and sixteen "bad" presidents (including Regan and Lincoln).

I was surprised at many of the rankings in this books, for example: FDR being better than Regan.  I think that this book does a good job of explaining into which category each president belongs (good, bad, etc) but does a less stellar job in the actual ranking.

I am willing to accept that Carter was a good president and Regan was bad on peace, prosperity and liberty (he ran budget deficits constantly).  The arguments made here are certainly interesting even if you don't agree with all of them.

Overall this is a very interesting book about our presidents.  It is the source I turn to in order to see learn about one of our past presidents.  Even if I remain skeptical that Regan was worse than FDR; the book is quite worth a read.

No comments:

Post a Comment