Vanity Fair's Presidential Profiles: Defining Portraits

In Vanity Fair's Presidential Profiles , each of America's presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, is presented in an incisive visual portrait and a brief but sharp biographical essay. The illustrations, by celebrated artist Mark Summers - created especially for this project - capture the men beneath their familiar historical visages. The essays, by a quintet of well-known Vanity Fair contributors - Judy Bachrach, David Friend, David Kamp, Todd Purdum, and Jim Windolf - offer an artful blend of history, biography, wit and even gossip. Edited by Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter, the volume includes an afterword by Purdum, the magazine's esteemed national editor. Here, the true leaders get the treatment they deserve, as do the lesser lights, whose entries are far more lively than their subjects were in real life. These range from Benjamin Harrison, with his handshake 'like a wilted petunia' to William McKinley, described by the far greater Teddy Roosevelt as having 'no more backbone than a chocolate eclair'. For an entertaining indispensible record in words and pictures of the achievements and foibles of the men who have occupied the oval office, Vanity Fair's Presidential Profiles can't be improved upon.