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Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House
Mark K. Updegrove

Retail Price: $24.95
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Format: Hardcover, 368pp.
ISBN: 9781592289424
Publisher: The Lyons Press
Pub. Date: October 1, 2006

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "There are no second acts in American lives", but more and more, our former presidents are proving him wrong. No longer fading into the background upon leaving the highest office in the land, ex-presidents perform valuable services as elder statesmen and international emissaries - and by pursuing their own agendas. From Eisenhower taking Kennedy to the woodshed (literally) on the Bay of Pigs crisis, to Carter earning the Nobel Peace Prize, to Bush Sr. and Clinton joining forces in an unlikely partnership for tsunami and Hurricane Katrina relief, the author examines the increasingly important roles that former presidents assume in our nation and throughout the world.

Through interviews with former presidents, first ladies, family members, friends, and staffers, the author also delves into the very human stories that play out as the modern ex-presidents - from Truman to Clinton - adjust to life after the White House and attempt to shape their historical legacies. In this, the first narrative history of the modern post-presidency, Mark K. Updegrove makes a refreshingly unique contribution to literature on the American presidents.


“Mark K. Updegrove’s Second Acts is a smart and provocative look at the most exclusive club in America – ex-presidents. Highly recommended!”
—Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History and Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Tulane University

"Former presidents have been likened to Cinderella after the ball. In this intimate, often surprising group portrait, Mark Updegrove reveals how our ex-presidents since Truman have dealt with the loss of power that is their pumpkin. From Ike struggling to master the intricacies of the dial tone, to LBJ raging like Lear on the Perdenales [River], to Jimmy Carter, the Extra President--Updegrove gives us riveting history by twilight. His evening stars cast a memorable glow."
—Richard Norton Smith, president historian, Scholar in Residence, George Mason University

"Mark Updegrove's Second Acts is a fascinating read about a subject that has been neglected for too long. It is history at its best; a well researched and well told narrative that illuminates the recent past in surprisingly unexpected ways. Filled with wit as well as wisdom, Second Acts is a delight."
—Don Carleton, Director, University of Texas Center for American History

" Highly recommended."
—Library Journal

“For those interested in the former presidents, this popular history will do the trick.”
—Publishers Weekly

"Revealing in detail and context."
—Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Mark K. Updegrove has served as the publisher of Newsweek, the Los Angeles manager of Time magazine, and the president of Time Canada. While at Time, he conceived “Time and the Presidency,” a traveling museum exhibit on the American presidents from FDR to Clinton. He currently is an executive with Yahoo! Inc.

Table of Contents
IHarry S. Truman: Back to Independence1
IIDwight D. Eisenhower: Elder Statesman27
IIILyndon B. Johnson: Exile51
IVRichard Nixon: Rehabilitation81
VGerald R. Ford: The Good Life113
VIJimmy Carter: Peacemaker145
VIIRonald Reagan: The Long Goodbye179
VIIIGeorge Bush: Patriarch207
IXBill Clinton: Life of the Party241

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