Through images masterfully painted and biographies cleverly crafted, The Presidents celebrates the colorful characters who have served in America’s highest office. A gorgeous, 96-page book of coffee-table quality, it is both an artistic tour de force and a literary teaching tool, a compelling history with a contemporary point of view.
In the remarkable work of art that adorns the dust jacket, Zachary Pullen, winner of the 2014 Governor’s Arts Award and described as “Wyoming’s Norman Rockwell,” captures the essence of each commander-in-chief as they converge for a historic gathering in front of the White House on a winter day. Pullen researched and attended to the smallest details—from comparative heights and period garb to Bill Clinton’s narrow gaze and Theodore Roosevelt’s wide grin.
Each inside spread takes a closer look at the men, quite literally. Author Brad Herzog, a four-time honoree by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, tells their tales from a unique perspective—through George Washington’s teeth, for instance, and Harry Truman’s middle initial, and John Tyler’s grandchildren. John F. Kennedy’s impact is conveyed through the journey of his funeral honor guard. Abraham Lincoln’s biography explores the minutiae behind the myths. William McKinley’s is a love story.
The book isn’t titled The Presidency. It is a about people and personalities, not power. It celebrates eccentricities as much as accomplishments. Andrew Jackson liked to prank people by moving their outhouses. Warren Harding was an inveterate gambler. Richard Nixon wanted to be a sports writer. Jimmy Carter reported a UFO sighting. Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair. Each of the 43 men in the pages of the book was called to an essential mission, but each was still just a man after all. In The Presidents, author and illustrator combine to paint an unforgettable portrait of each.