William Walsh: 44 American Boys – Short Histories of Presidential Childhoods

William Walsh: 44 American Boys – Short Histories of Presidential Childhoods

George W. Bush – learnt his sister had died (parents had withheld the news of her illness from him)

Ronald Reagan – had an alcoholic parent as a child

Lincoln – do not mistreat animals | a story about him scolding other children when they placed hot coals on the backs of a turtle

Andrew Johnston – b in 1808 | poor, upright family | his father died when he was 3 years old | he received no schooling | he was a member of a gang with his cousins | he was looked down upon by his “social betters” | he had a zest for learning | he learnt to read and could only write well in his late 30s | he was an apprentice tailor – but did not finish – but worked as a journey man tailor | he had a resolution to surmount obstacles | he did not marry before he got a start in life | he determined to never work for another man | his wife taught him literacy & numeracy

Gerald Ford – only president who had a different name at birth – he got a new name (both Christian & surname of his stepfather) when his mother fled a domestic violence situation and re-married

– the author says there is no key that got these children to the Presidency, with e exception of the Roosevelt & Bush families

Source: New Books in Biography | podcast date: 5 June 2017


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