Throughout the history of the United States there has only been one person to serve as president for multiple – but non-consecutive – terms. That person is Grover Cleveland and he has uniquely complicated the presidential math.
Although nearly everyone knows there have been forty-four presidents so far, there have only been forty-three people to have ever been president.
I may be the only person bothered by the fact that Grover Cleveland gets double-counted, and that’s fine. But for all that statistical trouble I currently have just two biographies of Cleveland in my library.
The first biography of Cleveland I’m reading is “Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage” by Allan Nevins. This 1933 Pulitzer Prize winner is a two-volume study which I own in the form of a single, lengthy book. In my edition it isn’t even possible to tell where one volume ends and the other begins.
This is the definitive biography of Cleveland and also the oldest of the nine Pulitzer-winning presidential biographies I will have read so far. (Coming up in just a few just weeks: the oldest of the twenty Pulitzer-winning biographies in my library which is Henry Pringle’s 1931 biography of Theodore Roosevelt…)
My second biography of Cleveland is “An Honest President: The Life and Presidencies of Grover Cleveland” by H. Paul Jeffers. Published in 2000, this single-volume biography is about half the length of Nevins’s and is more frequently read.
And *if* it arrives in time (I’m skeptical…it’s holiday season after all) I also plan to read Alan Brodsky’s “Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character.” Published just a few months after Jeffers’s biography, this is also a mid-sized and relatively frequently read single-volume study of Cleveland.
But if UPS is too busy delivering a 3-Axis DJI Phantom drone helicopter to every child in my neighborhood, I will add Brodsky’s biography to my follow-up list.
As of December 9, 2014 I have acquired not just one, but two, additional biographies of Cleveland to read as part of this first pass through the presidents. Thanks to those of you who brought these to my attention:
– Alan Brodsky’s “Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character” published in 2000
– Richard Welch’s “The Presidencies of Grover Cleveland” published in 1988
I now have Horace Merrill’s “Bourbon Leader: Grover Cleveland and the Democratic Party” as well, so I’ll be adding another biography to this batch before moving on to Benjamin Harrison. If it sounds like I’m delaying getting to president #23 (who apparently has the reputation of a frosty pane of glass) you might be right…