By Dennis Gaffney and Peter Gaffney
Hyperion, $24.95, 432 pages
It is sometimes easy to forget that American presidents have lives outside of office. In their book The Seven-Day Scholar: Exploring History One Week at a Time: The Presidents, authors Dennis and Peter Gaffney explore all forty-four presidents in brief detail, sharing some of the stories that made them historical figures. The chapters are arranged into seven sections so that they can be studied either over the course of a year or a week, depending on the reader’s preference. Although written in a formal style, this is not a dry presentation. The stories presented are illuminating. Each president’s individualism is illustrated in the selected anecdotes. As well as covering each Chief of Staff, the book includes chapters on the best and worst presidents, most controversial elections and scandals. Even some of the first ladies are discussed, giving greater perspective on what it takes to make to the White House operate. For history scholars, this makes for some fun reading. New light is shed on old stories, making this a fascinating reference book.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim