Humor in the White House

The Wit of Five American Presidents

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About the Book

“I heard one [presidential] candidate say that what this country needed was a president for the ‘90s,” Ronald Reagan once said. “I was set to run again. I thought he said a president in his 90s.” Abraham Lincoln, in one instance, was able to put a serious injury in a humorous light; in response to a young woman’s question about where a soldier was wounded, Lincoln replied, “Ma’am, the bullet that wounded him would not have wounded you.” Presidents often bring a sense of humor to the White House with them, allowing the American public to catch a glimpse of their not-so-serious sides. This book examines how five of the nation’s funniest chief executives—Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan—used wit and humor to their advantage during their terms as president, and how their management of the Executive Branch was thereby enhanced. As a bonus, the effective use of humor by several unsuccessful presidential candidates is surveyed.

About the Author(s)

Arthur A. Sloane is a professor of management at the University of Delaware. He lives in Wilmington.

Bibliographic Details

Arthur A. Sloane
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 216
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2001
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0949-5
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

“from students through casual readers. For libraries that have collections in U.S. history, politics and the presidency”—Public Library Quarterly; “delightful…much is new…highly recommended”—JOW.