101 Presidential Insults (Paperback)

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

By Mike Purdy

BookBaby, 9781543963748, 100pp.

Publication Date: June 7, 2019

List Price: 11.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


101 Presidential Insults 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. Our sordid history challenges us and our leaders to rise to "the better angels of our nature" and reject the acidic politics of personal demonization. Meticulously researched by presidential historian Mike Purdy, 101 Presidential Insults is a significant contribution to our understanding of the character of the 44 characters who have served as president.

Private and Public Insults: Sometimes in private letters, diaries, and conversations, they 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 http://PresidentialHistory.com that includes his award-winning presidential history blog. Mike is a frequent commentator on presidential history and politics for 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. Follow Mike on Twitter @PresHistory and on Instagram @PresidentialHistorian.

Praise For 101 Presidential Insults: What They Really Thought About Each Other - and What It Means to Us

"A terrific book... Mike Purdy has a gift for discovering just the right anecdotes that help us understand our presidents better. Really well done." —PAUL BRANDUS, White House bureau chief, West Wing Reports, author of Under This Roof: The White House and Presidency

"Filthy, disgraced, lying, cheating, calculating bastard, schemer, a dangerous man, a little schmuck, unfit to serve... Mike Purdy brings us into the political locker room, where nothing is left unsaid. This book is a statement on the dark humanity of American presidents—sad and hilarious, at the same time." —A.J. BAIME, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President

"Anyone reading this book will have reactions of laughter, shock, and amazement as they learn more about the personalities of our 44 Presidents. This book is highly recommended to all who follow and love the institution of the American Presidency." —DR. RONALD L. FEINMAN, author of Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency

"Mike Purdy's track on 101 Presidential Insults reveals a side of presidential politics that is at once delightful and shocking." —THE HONORABLE DON BONKER, Former Member of Congress

"This book should be required reading for those concerned about the current political climate. Perhaps in knowing the past we can chart a new, more civil course. It's also great reading for those who enjoy a good laugh!" —DR. MICHAEL ARTIME, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, WA)

"Mike Purdy's new book is an addictive and refreshing read for any lover of American history. A delightful concept—executed masterfully—it explores some of the most un-presidential moments of the American presidency." —ROBERT BUCCELLATO, author of Jimmy Carter in Plains: The President's Hometown

"The book is an eye opener." —DR. BILL BAARSMA, Former Mayor, City of Tacoma, Washington

"Delightful...breezy...laughs and insights aplenty." —PAUL GRONDAHL, author of I Rose Like a Rocket