My Opinion

Inside the corridors of power

Written by Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi|Instep|November 8, 2020

Though the American Elections are amusing enough, here is how you can keep yourself even more entertained with US Presidential politics!

If you think that Donald Trump is the most controversially colourful President the United States has ever seen, think again. Because The Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents educates you regarding the ‘unknown’ and ‘uncensored’ history of the United States in such a way that you would end up laughing and worrying at the same time. Laughing because it takes you down memory lane and lets you roam around with the weirdest characters of all times. And worrying because the non-fictional bloopers will make you more concerned about the future.

Authored by Cormac O’ Brien, this book has chapters on every American President, from George Washington to Barack Obama, and while history books cover their good deeds and accomplishments, this ‘collection’ covers deeds and activities that are not known to the general public. Be it little-known facts and their countless outrageous acts, the Men in the White House are profiled like never before. After going through this unputdownable book, you will realize that besides being politically incorrect, there were Commanders in Chief who were downright wackos, and that tells you a lot about the people who elected them!

Why is Richard Nixon the most hated of all American Presidents? Because he has been ridiculed the most number of times on TV, in films, and even in books. Trust me, after going through this book, you will declare Nixon a lesser evil, because there were others who deserved to be ridiculed more than the ‘bugging’ Head of State. Every chapter begins with the full name of the President in discussion, his astrological sign (for obvious reasons!), his term of presidency (some didn’t even enjoy a full term), his political party, his age upon taking office (very interesting at times!), the name of his vice president and opponent (a few had none), his height, his nickname (you will love most of them!) and if you don’t find anything hilarious in all of that, a soundbite that has survived centuries because of valid reasons.

Don’t be surprised to find out that there were Presidents who cheated on their wives and got away (some didn’t), or that there were a few who listened to no one but their wives (sounds familiar). One of them was saved by a speech and another was killed by one whereas one of the founding fathers spent as much as seven percent of his salary on an important thing like … booze. There was another Head of State who loved to go skinny-dipping in the Pontiac River while one worked as a model for Cosmopolitan before realizing that he had the potential to be resident of the White House. That’s not all. One of the other residents of the mansion gambled with its china (chinaware this time) when he ran low on cash while another reported a UFO sighting. The last one didn’t survive the reelection whereas others did!

The book also features hilarious portraits by Monika Suteski (no, not that Monica!) featuring either Mr. President or their spouses, who warrant another book of their own. Although some of their acts were downright outrageous, these ‘illustrations’ highlight the fun element in those acts. Be it George Washington with a glass of wine in his hand while riding a horse (yup, he spent the seven percent on booze!), Thomas Jefferson greeting ambassadors in pajamas, Andrew Jackson fighting a duel, Gerald Ford locking himself out of the White House, Dwight Eisenhower spending as many as 150 days a year on the golf course or George Bush doing a Bushusru (Japanese for vomiting, especially on the Japanese PM), each one brings a smile to your face. As will the mention of Presidential pets, famous first ladies, and their antics that are not part of the public knowledge.

Some of them might have their faces on Mount Rushmore, but in reality, the American Presidents were just human. Think of every eccentric person in your family or surroundings and imagine him as the Head of State. That’s how weird some of their stories are, making The Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents a must-read book, especially in the season of the Presidential Election. If this book doesn’t change your perception about the leader of the Free World, nothing will.

About the author

Omair Alavi