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Book details
  • Genre:HUMOR
  • SubGenre:Topic / Politics
  • Language:English
  • Pages:100
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543963748

101 Presidential Insults

What They Really Thought About Each Other - and What It Means to Us

by Mike Purdy View author's profile page

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101 Presidential Insults: What They Really Thought About Each Other - and What It Means to Us 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. Meticulously researched, the book is a significant contribution to our understanding of the character of the 44 characters who have served as president. Presidential historian Mike Purdy challenges us and our leaders, despite our sordid history, to rise to "the better angels of our nature" and reject the acidic politics of personal demonization.


Private and Public Insults: Sometimes in private letters, diaries, and conversations, our presidents have 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 square.
  • 101 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 insult.
  • A 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 angles.
  • Notes 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.

About the author

MIKE PURDY is a presidential historian and the author of 101 Presidential Insults: What They Really Thought About Each Other - and What It Means to Us. He is the founder of PresidentialHistory.com.  Mike is a frequent commentator on presidential history and politics for national and international media.   

Website: PresidentialHistory.com includes an award-winning presidential history blog (PR Newswire for Journalists, Beyond Bylines selected it as their top "Presidential Blogs We Love" in February 2018). In addition to resources about presidential sites, books, and various links, his website includes a popular Presidential History News video series. These short and fun videos recreate and imagine what it would look like if a modern television news anchor reported on key events in presidential history.

Media commentator: Mike has been interviewed by and quoted in a variety of national and international media outlets including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Today.com, Reuters, Bloomberg BNA, The Huffington Post, and BBC. He is a regular opinion contributor to TheHill.com. He is also the author of the Foreword to The Story of John Quincy Adams 250 Years Later by Edward Cody Huddleston.

Professional affiliations: Mike is a member of the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association, and participated in the Siena College Research Institute's 2018 U.S. Presidents Study, ranking presidential performance.

Education: He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in business (University of Puget Sound), and a Master of Divinity degree (Fuller Theological Seminary).

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