Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Peter Hannaford

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4516-2714-5
Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

Hannaford (Reagan's Roots: The People and Places that Shaped his Character, 2011, etc.), a Republican public relations specialist and associate of Ronald Reagan, adds to his writings on presidents and their office with a comprehensive discussion of presidential vacation retreats.

The author presents his material chronologically, by president. Each section concludes with a summary statement that provides details of the presidential homes, retreats, museums and libraries associated with each of the nation's leaders. The author provides addresses, phone numbers, websites, business hours and information about tours and other attractions, making it easy for people who live within reach of the presidential sites to visit. Some of the highlights: Long Branch, N.J., emerged as a popular summer watering hole for a number of post–Civil War presidents. Several sites, like Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldier's Home in NW Washington D.C.'s Armed Forces Retirement Home, have been extensively restored and opened to the public. There, Lincoln spent one-quarter of his presidency and drafted the Emancipation Declaration. Hannaford also discusses the activities presidents enjoyed at their retreats, including fishing, golf, wilderness hikes and yachting—e.g., Truman with the USS Williamsburg. Hannaford also provides brief biographical snapshots of each president and a concise outline of major developments and concerns during their years in office.

Breezily written and enjoyable, this book opens up a different perspective on the presidency.