101 Presidential Insults peeks behind the political curtain—exposing that our presidents have dished out acerbic insults about other presidents from the founding fathers to the age of Trump. Our sordid history challenges us and our leaders to rise to "the better angels of our nature" and reject the acidic politics of personal demonization. Meticulously researched by presidential historian Mike Purdy, 101 Presidential Insults is a significant contribution to our understanding of the character of the 44 characters who have served as president.
Private and Public Insults: Sometimes in private letters, diaries, and conversations, they let their guard down on what they really thought about a former, deceased, current, or future president. At other times, these insults have been audaciously proclaimed in public speeches, books, and to the media. By their own words, our presidents have demonstrated their flawed humanity with insults that are often humorous and sometimes shocking for their lack of decorum. We may laugh or perhaps wince as we read these 101 presidential insults.
Examples of Insults: The presidents have labeled one another as dangerous, ignorant, liars, obstinate, selfish, unfit, vain, and weak. And these are just some of the commonplace words. They have also used biting and bitter phrases such as gibbering idiot, little schmuck, and young whippersnapper. Some bizarre insults require research and a dictionary to understand, such as "Byzantine logothete."
Book Contents: The book includes:A thoughtful and challenging introduction calling for increased civility in our private lives and the public square101 humorous, shocking, and sobering quotes by the presidents about other presidents that includes a brief description of the occasion, source (letter, diary, speech, etc.), and date for each insultA glossary of the obscure terms used by presidents about other presidents such as "honeyfuggler," "bungalow mind," and "puzzlewit"Three lists (alphabetical by insult, about/by list, and numerical analysis by source of insults) help the reader to view these caustic comments from different anglesNotes citing primary sources for the quotes (when known), or reliable secondary sources that reference primary sources
2020 Challenges: The upcoming presidential election will be a test of our national character and the character of the candidates. Ultimately, our survival as a nation depends on our ability to treat others with respect, and to promote civility, consensus, and compromise.
A Must Read: 101 Presidential Insults is a quick and fun read, but it is also thought-provoking and shocking at times. It is a must read for anyone interested in history and concerned about the current lack of civility in politics.