Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

July Books 26) Veeps, by Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger

A book of simple facts about the 46 men who have served as vice-president of the USA, pointed out to me by slovobooks a while back, nicely produced by comics publishers Top Shelf Productions. I have a feeling that a lot of it is taken from Steve Tally's Bland Ambition, but the authors have been decent enough to provide extensive bibliographies on each. For extra value they add some late twentieth-century also-rans (Curtis LeMay, Thomas Eagleton, Geraldine Ferraro and Admiral James Stockdale, of whom only Ferraro was actually on a major party ticket come the election.)

I did learn a few things from it. I had no idea that Henry A. Wallace was such a loon, or that the LBJ/Humphrey relationship was so poisonous. (I can't quite get my head around LBJ not endorsing his own VP in as tight an election year as 1968.) I was aware of the character flaws of Daniel Tompkins and Spiro Agnew, but boggled a bit at the details. On the other hand, the entertaining chapter on John C. Calhoun omits the pertinent fact that he resigned a couple of months before the end of his term.

Still, I laughed out loud at the description of Dick Cheney as exuding "the palpable, if unfounded, sense that he has either killed men with his bare hands or hired shadowy others to do it for him in Washington D.C. parking garages very late at night."
Tags: bookblog 2009, history: usa

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