Please join us at Roosevelt House as we welcome C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb and Susan Swain to discuss the network’s newest book-length collection of on-air conversations: The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America’s Best—and Worst—Chief Executives. They will be joined by historians Harold Holzer and Amity Shlaes, who will discuss presidential leadership, their respective chapters on Abraham Lincoln and Calvin Coolidge, and the rankings of America’s presidents.

Chronicling presidential virtues and vices from Abraham Lincoln’s political savvy and rhetorical gifts to James Buchanan’s indecisiveness, the C-SPAN book teaches much about what makes a great leader—and what does not. Crafted from Lamb’s interviews with historians over the years, The Presidents provides stories and analysis that capture the men who have held the office of presidency. Chapters are arranged in the order of each president’s ranking in C-SPAN’s 2017 Historians Survey on Presidential Leadership, in which historians rated 43 of America’s presidents across 10 key categories—their ability to persuade the public, their leadership skills, their moral authority, and more.  (The top three in the 2017 survey were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.)

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Brian Lamb is C-SPAN’s chairman and founding CEO and a longtime on-camera interviewer for the public affairs network now celebrating its 40th anniversary. After decades on screen hosting Booknotes, Mr. Lamb now hosts Q&A. He has received both The National Humanities Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Susan Swain is C-SPAN’s co-CEO and has been an on-camera interviewer for C-SPAN for more than 30 years. She was the longtime moderator of Washington Journal, the network’s iconic morning news and call-in program. This is her 10th book project with PublicAffairs Press. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

Amity Shlaes is the author of New York Times bestsellers, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great DepressionCoolidge, a biography of the 30th president; and The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americas Crazy. National Review called The Forgotten Man; “the finest history of the Great Depression ever written.” Shlaes chairs the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation.

Harold Holzer is the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, a post he assumed in 2015. He has written, co-authored, or edited 53 books on Abraham Lincoln and The Civil War, and has earned both The Lincoln Prize and the National Humanities Medal.

Kirkus Reviews praises The Presidents: “Among the pleasure of the texts are the little-known—and sometimes quirky—details about the presidents . . . [it] will serve both as a solid reference work and as a milepost in the evolving and ever-changing reputations of our presidents.”



Brian Lamb and Susan Swain — The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America’s Best—and Worst—Chief Executives | Posted on April 18th, 2019 | Book Discussions, Public Programs