Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: Our Presidents ROCK!

"If you don't know where you've been, how can you know where you're going? Our Presidents ROCK!, by Juliette Turner, offers an important contribution to the understanding of our past by making the fascinating history of the American Presidency accessible and enjoyable for young readers." -- Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense

The above quote from Donald Rumsfeld is included on the front cover of Juliette Turner's newest book, Our Presidents ROCK!. Mr. Rumsfeld is correct, both in his assertion of the importance of knowing history, and in his opinion that Ms. Turner's book makes the history of  the American Presidency "accessible and enjoyable for young readers." I would only expand on his comment by pointing out that her book, though aimed at young people, is also suitable, interesting, and enjoyable reading for adults, too! After all, I am a 47-year-old with a college degree in History, and I loved the book, and even learned from it.

Although aimed at a younger audience, the material presented is in no way "watered-down," and it's not just a trivia book filled with random facts. Its 316 pages are information-packed, and cover every President from Washington to Obama. It is the layout and graphics of the book that are designed to appeal to young adults.

Each President receives about six to eight pages of coverage. which is presented into quick, easy-to-understand sections:

The Bottom Line: a two-sentence coverage of the president's accomplishments during his time in office.

What Were They Thinking?: a quick explanation of the viewpoints of every president, from his views on debt and foreign relations to his views on social issues and war.

Why Should I Care?: tells you why it is important to learn about and understand the policies of that president in particular.

Breakin' It Down: An overview of each president's life, before and during his presidency.

Presidency: Information about his actual time in office - from policies to landmark accomplishments to important events affecting his presidency.

Quick Facts: lots of interesting tidbits, including election results, quotes from speeches, the president's thoughts regarding the Constitution, fast stats on each president, and details on each president's personality, among other information. I especially like the Presidential Times, a one or two page section for each president made to look like a newspaper covering events during his presidency.

What I really like about Juliette Turner's book is that she makes history come alive by showing why it is important for us to understand. She isn't just presenting facts about some seemingly unimportant, irrelevant past, but instead shows how the history of the American Presidency is important and relevant to us today.

Juliette Turner (on Twitter: @JulietteTurner) is a sixteen year-old historian, and the National Youth Director for Constituting America. She previously wrote the book, Our Constitution ROCKS!

I highly recommend both of her books as gifts for any teens on your Christmas or Hanukkah list. And if you are looking for an interesting and useful book on American history, pick up a copy for yourself. You won't be disappointed, and you will learn a lot.

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