President’s Day is nearly upon us. This week a book and a DVD set on two of the men who have held the prestigious office are among the new and noteworthy presidential materials in the collection at the .
The Promise: President Obama, Year One:
Newsweek columnist and Harvard graduate Jonathan Alter has considerable access to President Obama’s administration and he took advantage of such by penning a book on Obama’s first year in office. In the book the reader gets a detailed account of just how methodically the Obama White House is run, and how starkly this contrasts to the knee-jerk reactive Bush administration.
Alter goes into detail on Obama’s personality inside the White House and shares his observation about Obama’s rapid ascension to the office. Alter's narrative draws a startling contrast between the essentially unknown Obama of 2004 and the man currently occupying the Oval office.
The fresh anecdotes are where Alter’s book really wins. This book isn’t simply about heaps of policy with the author giving a grade to the administration. Alter proves he is a very capable wordsmith; he does not waste his White House access.
Alter himself was on a recent episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and had some interesting things to say about who we expected Obama to be as President, and what he actually has proven to be. Alter argues Obama has shown himself to be a better executive inside the White House than a communicator on the podium, where he has at times struggled. Many American's expected Obama to be the next great orator, myself included. Alter also claims that policy-wise no one since Lyndon B. Johnson has accomplished so much so soon.
John Adams: (HBO TV miniseries)
Directed with real attention to detail by Tom Hooper, this seven-part Emmy and Golden Globe award winning mini series is available as a three-disc DVD set at the Mansfield Public Library. The script that was written for the series was based on the book, John Adams by David McCullough.
Hooper also directed the recent indie darling and Oscar contender The Kings Speech staring Colin Firth. Library Director Janet Campbell says that the library plans to obtain The Kings Speech DVD as soon as it is released.
The series begins on the night of the Boston Massacre, and runs through the years of Adams helping to shape the direction of America, showing him as a cranky but capable forefather, through to his presidency. John Adams finally culminates with Adams' years in retirement and the misfortunes of his family; some of which I must warn you, are filmed in excruciating detail.
Paul Giamatti portrays John Adams and the remarkable actress Laura Linney plays his wife Abigail, to me both portrayals are stunning and sincere. What the series does best is convey the reality of living in America in the late 1700’s. Even for the well connected and well heeled it wasn’t exactly easy. John Adams is a period piece that unapologetically puts the viewer into the instability and painstaking hardships of the Revolutionary era.