U.S. Presidents Group
The U.S. Presidents group reads and discusses concise biographies of past presidents, their leadership abilities and how well their reputations have withstood the test of time. The biography for May is James Monroe by Gary Hary (Times Books, $22.00). Hart sees Monroe as a president ahead of his time, whose priorities and accomplishments in establishing America's "national security" have a great deal in common with chief executives of our own time. Monroe was at his core a military man. He joined the Continental Army at the age of seventeen and served with distinction in many pivotal battles. And throughout his career as a senator, governor, ambassador, secretary of state, secretary of war, and president, he never lost sight of the fact that without secure borders and friendly relations with neighbors, the American people could never be truly safe in their independence. As president he embarked on an ambitious series of treaties, annexations, and military confrontations that would secure America's homeland against foreign attack for nearly two hundred years.