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The Forty Four Presidents of the United States of America


By Pat O’Brien


ISBN:  978-1-907107-48-1


Price:  €30.00


Ebook Version now available


About the Author:


The author of “The Forty Four Presidents of the United States of America” Pat O’Brien, is a retired official of the Irish Electricity Supply Board where he worked for thirty-six years.


In 1956 he studied Commerce, Accountancy and Social-Political theory in Trinity College, Dublin.  Pat’s main hobby has been song writing in which he achieved moderate success by reaching the finals of three National Eurovision Song Contests.


In 1993 Pat decided to change direction and set about researching and writing about all 44 Presidents of the United States.  In 2010 he completed the project which took approximately sixteen years and half a million words.


If you enjoy a good story, a fascinating script, thousands of famous players in a wonderful supporting cast from the greats of history then just read on…….

About the Book: 


This book “The forty four Presidents of the United States of America” derives its inspiration from published material in the public domain.

Listed are over 180 books, 20 newspaper articles and 3 TV documentaries the use of which I acknowledge with grateful thanks to all concerned in these publications.

Apart from my own amateur comments they have been my library for the anecdotes, statistics, facts, fables, quotes, opinions, rumours, and commentaries by historians, politicians, newspapermen, journalists, writers and Statesmen world wide.

The result I hope is an entertaining reservoir of stories that capture the heart and soul of the times we pass through in the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

This wonderful spectrum of political and social history includes the assassination of four U.S. Presidents - Lincoln, McKinley, Garfield and Kennedy.

We will also follow the dramatic scenes when Ronald Reagan was almost assassinated.  We follow him from the shooting to the hospital and the fight to save his life in the operating theatre.

You will hear about the tragedy of the Indian or Native American race whose conflict with the white man remains unresolved to this day in 2010.

We will march with the rookie soldiers into the battlefields of the Civil War or stand with the “Hooverites” on the breadlines of the 1932 Depression.

We will sit inside the cockpit of the “Enola Gay” and afterwards witness the horror of the nuclear bomb dropped on the people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima that ended the Second World War.

The awful events of the Titanic will be played out before our eyes during the Presidency of the 27th President William Howard Taft.  The sheer helplessness of the radio operator in the radio room of the stricken liner as he clung to his machine crying out to the world for help will almost break your heart.

The glory of the moonwalkers will be experienced again by the readers as Nixon the 36th President talks to them from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.  We will read their words on how it affects their lives.  Reluctantly we will watch the execution of Saddam Hussein on the gallows in Iraq.  Finally we will walk the unbelievable journey of Barack Obama, the first coloured American President all the way from Hawaii to the White House.

I have made every effort in my research to get the facts right.  However if I have failed at times I can only trust in the generosity and indulgence of those readers more informed than your writer.

Perhaps some stories may upset you.  Perhaps others may touch you profoundly but as we travel together down these years I know you will share with me a deep sense of reverence for the awesome title President of the United States of America.

1: George Washington

Leader of the American Revolution and the historic birth of a nation.  The 234 year journey of the Presidency now begins in the hands of a Deity. (p1)


2: John Adams

The parting of two friends Jefferson and Adams was a personal tragedy for both of them.  However the real story we concentrate on is the formidable First Lady Abigail Adams. (p13)


3: Thomas Jefferson

Inventor, Philosopher, Intellectual.  Jefferson organized an expedition into the West led by Captains Merryweather and Clark exploring Indian territories and mapping the future trails for the covered wagons of the pioneers into the West. (p 29)


4: James Madison

“The great little Madison Father of the Constitution” has all the constitutional answers for Congress, while Dolly Madison, his glamorous wife and First Lady, host their lavish banquets at home. (p 43)


5: James Monroe

Creator of “The Monroe Doctrine” closes the door on all future attempts to colonize in America.  His Presidency was the known as “the era of good feeling”. (p 57)


6: John Quincy Adams

The son of John Adams, he was a rough, tough debating bruiser who enjoyed the infighting of politics.  He was a loud passionate anti-slavery voice which he addressed fearlessly to the secessionists. (p 65)


7:Andrew Jackson

Sworn enemy of the Indian Nation known by them as “sharp knife” and “the devil”.  Known to others as an “atrocious saint”.  He was also a great General. (p 75)


8: Martin Van Buren

He was Americas first “spin doctor” through his political contacts and the expertise of his political machine called “The Albany Regency”.  His clients were almost unbeatable in elections. (p 85)


9: William H Harrison

Indian wars were rampant on his watch.  They included “The fall of the Sioux nation”, “Custer’s last stand” and “The life and times of Geronimo”.  William Harrison only lived for one month of his Presidency.  (p 95)


10: John Tyler

A difficult character, at war with everyone.  He gave a devastating speech to his cabinet to put them in their place making enemies of them all.  His death was ignored for fifty years by his fellow politicians, such was his unpopularity. (p 107)


11: James Knox Polk

An impassioned supporter of “Manifest Destiny”.  This was the right of Americans to move westward to own their own land, usually confiscated from the Indians. (p 115)


12: Zachary Taylor

He spent forty years on horseback in the army.  He broke his wife’s heart when he became President against her wishes.  His daughter Sarah eloped to marry a famous soldier Jefferson Davis, future leader of the Confederates.  Sarah died a few years after she eloped, and Jefferson Davis returned to Zachary Taylor. (p 125)


13: Millard Fillmore

Physically very handsome, he was born in a log cabin in the wilderness but became a lawyer.  After the Presidency he toured Europe and was feted by all who met him.

(p 133)


14: Franklin Pierce

He is said to be an ancestor of George W Bush.  Had a sad life.  He was a heavy drinker with anti-Lincoln views.  A freak accident saw his little son Benny killed before his eyes in a horrific train accident.  Pierce later died without friends or family, alone in the White House. (p 147)


15: James Buchannan

A brilliant lawyer, politician, statesman, and ambassador before he was President yet as President he was weak, scared, and dysfunctional as the Civil War approached.  He hated being President. (p 157)


16: Abraham Lincoln

He lasted only one month into his second term, but at the moment of victory came his awful assassination.  He was as sure about the evil of slavery as other Presidents were unsure.  He led his army against slavery in the Civil War in which over 600,000 were killed.  Lincoln never got to enjoy the fruits of his victory. (p 169)


17: Andrew Johnson

Reconstruction was badly needed in the South.  Devastation was everywhere, like Berlin after World War II.  Johnson gave an amnesty to all Confederates while Congress was on holidays.  Later he was impeached unsuccessfully for his vetoes.

 (p 195)


18: Ulysses Grant

Victorious General of the Civil War.  He was not as good in politics as he was in the army.  He duly retired and made a very successful world tour.  His liking for cigars may have caused him the cancer from which he died.  He wrote a brilliant book described as a classic, the royalties of which became his pension.  He finished the book on his death bed.  It was entitled “Let Us Have Peace”. (p 215)


19: Rutherford Birchard Hayes

He lived a very patrician lifestyle.  Very rich with a beautiful estate called “Spiegal Grove.”  Moved gently among the academics in Washington University before the Presidency.  His victory by a narrow margin called for a recount.  He won the recount but Tilden, his opponent took the defeat so badly he retired from politics, some say with a broken heart. (p 235)


20: James Garfield

Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881 and died on September 20 1881, eight days later.  His Presidency had lasted 200 days from March 4 1881 to September 20 1881.  The reason he was shot was because his assassin was refused a job by the Administration.  The trial of his murderer was a shambles because Charles Guiteau, who shot him, seemed seriously deranged.  If the trial took place today I’m certain it would have collapsed. (p 251)


21: Chester Alan Arthur

Arthur was scoffed at as a choice of President.  He was a “Dandy” who loved socialising, but was in the pocket of the chief New York spin doctor Boss Conkling.  He turned his back on Boss Conkling forever and ran a benign Presidency to everyone’s relief.  A statue has been erected to him in Madison Square Park. (p 269)


22 & 24: Grover Cleveland

A fierce, confrontational man.  Had two terms as President from 1885-1889 and from 1893-1897.  He was as fiery as Theodore Roosevelt.  In his second term a terrible botched up arrest happened.  Indian police, sent to arrest Sitting Bull, shot and butchered him in a fight.  Sitting Bulls friend Crazy Horse, hero of the battle called “Little Big Horn”, was bayoneted. (p 277), (p 297)


25: William Mc Kinley

He was the third President to be assassinated. During his Presidency the Indians were in rebellion.  Mc Kinley’s assassination was carried out by an anarchist, Leon F Czolgosz, as a protest against the moral decay of the society he saw around. (p 303)


26: Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore arrived on the scene like a knight in shining armour.  His mission was to reform society as Governor of New York.  His Presidency was one major news story after another and he proved to be a treasure trove for the headline writers.  He was the cousin of Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd President. (p 325)


27: William Howard Taft

A strange enigma of a man, who should never have been a politician, for his consuming passion was always the Law.  The Titanic tragedy, which I’ve covered in detail, happened on his watch and filled the newspapers for weeks.  Taft finally arrived where he truly belonged as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for nine years. (p 349)


28: Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson will forever be associated with the First World War.  His efforts to secure a fair armistice were sabotaged by the French Prime Minister, Clemenceau.  He was also opposed by politicians back home against his idea of the League of Nations.  A loner, forging his own lonely furrow in a futile pursuit of his dream.  Stress eventually killed him. (p 363)


29: Warren Gamaliel Harding

Another man who should never have become President.  The reason being his heart never left the world of the Newspaper Man.  He died later of a massive heart attack in far off Canada whilst still pining for his beloved newspaper life in “The Marion Star” newspaper. The storyline proves that Harding’s Presidency was hijacked off him by crooks. (p 383)


30: Calvin Coolidge

Was not known as “Silent Cal” for nothing.  Famous for his one liners in conversation.  One lady told him at a party “I have a bet to get at least three words from you.”  “You Lose,” was his reply.  He was lucky to be President in the richest time in America called “The Roaring 20s”. Yet the Wall Street Crash was only around the corner.  Strangely he was a certainty for a second term yet chose to resign.  Why we, will never know. (p 401)


31: Herbert Hoover

Known as “The Engineer”.  Had he retired an engineer he could have remained a hero for his humanitarian work in the First World War.  America’s money markets went out of control and Hoover retired in ignominy. (p 419)


32: Franklin D Roosevelt(FDR)

Roosevelt was a cousin of the famous Theodore Roosevelt (26th President).  But disaster struck him when he developed Polio and was crippled for the rest of his life.  That didn’t prevent him becoming a towering figure in the depression of 1932.  He sorted out the money markets and went on to partner Churchill and Eisenhower in winning the Second World War. (p 435)


33: Harry S Truman

He has gone down in history as the man who dropped the Atom Bomb on Japan.  Very independent, he had opinions of his own which saw him sack most of FDR’s Cabinet.  The Berlin Airlift happened on his watch.  Both he and his wife Bess were very popular on Capitol Hill.  Finished his Presidency with a party and a singsong around the piano in the White House. (p 455)


34: Dwight Eisenhower

He was one of the most charismatic Generals in American history and a proud product of WestPoint.  Roosevelt made him Supreme Commander of the Allied forces fighting the Nazi’s throughout Europe and North Africa.  Some of his speeches in the Presidency will go down in history - and were praised by the Russians in the cold war.  He never went to war again. (p 479)


35: John F Kennedy

He was the first of a new well-educated, sophisticated breed of politician and a millionaire from the time of his youth.  He was the fourth President to be assassinated and will always be remembered as a tragic figure never to achieve his full political potential.  His brother Bobby was also assassinated ending the Kennedy dynasty in politics. (p 507)


36: Lyndon Johnson ( LBJ)

Successor to Kennedy he was the most accomplished parliamentarian ever in Congress.  One of his most heartbreaking defeats was his failure to launch his “great society”, a vision he had for social and political reform throughout America.  Korea destroyed his will to fight for a second term. (p 531)


37: Richard Nixon

Mention Richard Nixon and people will think of Watergate.  The first President to resign in nearly 200 years.  Watergate was a self-inflicted wound which got worse as time went on.  He was rehabilitated back into politics as an international expert before he died. (p 551)


38: Gerald R Ford

He must be the only man who ever stood and watched the downfall of a King while he stood in the wings as heir to the Kings dynasty.  As President ,  Ford’s first act caused an outrage - he pardoned Nixon. (p 577)


39: Jimmy Carter

He was a Southerner who amazed Washington when he entered the race for the Presidency.  They said “Jimmy who”?  He used his knowledge of the South to achieve political success.  Amazingly he is still having success to this day as an international peacemaker thirty years later. (p 601)


40: Ronald Reagan

The most colourful of Presidents whose film star career gave him a real quality Hollywood polish.  It was his relationship with Gorbachev, the Russian Premier that brought down the Berlin wall.  Unfortunately his family life was not as successful as his political one. Sadly he died of Alzheimer’s disease for which there is no cure today. (p 620)


41: George Bush (Snr)

He is remembered for “Desert Storm” which was his declaration of war on Saddam Hussein.  Bush was part of the “old money” dynasty in America with a political family going back two or three generations.  He personally told Richard Nixon, it was time for him to quit!  Bush was followed into office later by his son George W Bush. (p 648)


42: William Jefferson Clinton

The story of the Bill Clintons Presidency is really the story of a love affair between himself and his wife Hillary.  One of his greatest roles is remembered in Ireland where he had “a hands on” input into the “Good Friday Agreement”, which brought an end to violence in Northern Ireland.  Hillary is now Secretary Of State in the Obama Presidency. Their marriage now flourishes into a joyful future after the Monica Lewinsky. (p 668)


43: George W Bush

George Bush will tell you himself how he was headed for “skid row” preferring Jack Daniels and Johnnie Walker “whiskeys” to Abraham Lincoln.  This didn’t prevent him from reforming and becoming a jet pilot, a university graduate and a fluent Spanish speaker.  He met and married a beautiful woman and had two lovely daughters.  What blew his Presidency apart was the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York on September 11 2001, after that it became a war Presidency. (p 692)


44: Barack Obama

The first coloured President to enter the White House.  His sense of history was there in everything he did from Hawaii to college, from college to university and beyond.  He deserves to have providence on his side.  Barracks arrival on Capitol Hill is indeed the end of Civil War politics after one hundred and fifty years in America.  He has so much to accomplish if only the American people believe in his dream. (p 730)