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History June 12, 2014
Audacity of Truth – A review of the book ‘President’s Body Counts’
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"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana We all have eyes but how many of us can claim to see clearly? For an average person bound by his high school text books, it won’t be easy to discover the truth about your own nation and its real history. You can never be a true patriot without knowing about the bad as well as the good In Al Carroll's new book, ‘Presidents’ Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions’, the author takes on a challenge. We are not supposed to speak or think evil about our Presidents. Most books by journalists, political commentators, and historians all appear to be more loyal to the White House than the truth; but not this book. It revels in detail about the evils done by our past presidents, the numerous cases of mass murder, incompetence, and misconduct. But it also takes a look at our noblest presidents. As he says, for every evil president, there were few good ones also whose actions and decisions have saved numerous lives. This is a brave and magisterial work that will make you look again at American history and the Presidency. It’s a real eye-opener to anyone who thinks they know everything there is to know about U.S. history. It is the truth that you won’t hear through your mainstream media. Al Carroll’s research and superb writing skill are clearly displayed in this wonderful book which has a beautiful and engaging use of phrases, elegant pacing, clear intent, and the right use of bold and highlighted passages to convey his arguments even more strongly. You will be amazed at the speed you will finish a book of this size. This is because the author has filled each page with enough oomph while discussing the matter at hand and all the while never losing its momentum and readability. The book isn’t a mere expose on the many ills committed by the Presidents such as Nixon and Reagan due to their negligence or stubborn highhandedness or mere paranoia. It also reveals to us Presidents like Jefferson, Lincoln and Grant whose broader vision in times of strife and trouble helped them to act as a force for positive change. Every category dedicated to Presidents and the atrocities they committed is of great interest and even those with great knowledge of will find new information with respect to events and leaders. The best thing about Al Carroll’s effort is his ability to describe events in the context of the issues and the politics of the time. Presidents’ Body Counts is a grim reminder that many of our Founding Fathers and other political leaders from the nation's formative years to the present time are not the infallible icons of our nation’s history as we imagined them to be. They were just as petty, contentious and argumentative mortals like the rest of us; the only difference being their misdemeanours and transgressions cost the lives of millions. Al Carroll’s ‘Presidents’ Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions’ is a book that every student of history should read at least once. And even if you are not into the subject, the author’s ability to traverse through tough subjects as one would normally do in a novel will win him plenty of fans. If you think this is another book about USA bashing, then you are wrong, the only thing he bashes is the one sided, non-controversial and white washed version of this country’s great history, and in the process he gives a very balanced account of the weaknesses of many of our great presidents. 
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