Books: Who's Fillmore? What's He Done?

PRESIDENTIAL ANECDOTES by Paul F. Boiler Jr.; Oxford; 410 pages; $14.95

Nowhere does the Constitution stipulate that the nation's Chief Executive must be witty or charming or colorful. Strictly constructing, Presidents have every legal right to be stiffs. A goodly number of them have been. This unavoidable fact makes Presidential Anecdotes a rather remote relation to The Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes (1975), which roamed freely and often hilariously over centuries' worth of British biography and gossip. Historian Paul F. Boiler Jr. had to confine himself to the 39 Americans who, for better or...

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