Presidents' Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions

Rated 4.20/5 based on 5 reviews
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Speak No Evil About Presidents. So say most textbooks, journalists, commentators, and even some historians. Not in this book.
An eye opening look at all the evil done by presidents, mass murder, incompetence, and terrorism, and the noblest presidents also. The most insightful damning expose of presidents you will ever see, by a historian and professo More

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About Al Carroll

Al Carroll is Assistant Professor of American, American Indian, and Latin American history at Northern Virginia Community College and also taught at Arizona State University, St. Phillip's College, San Antonio College, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia as a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

Most of his work deals with war and peace, human rights issues, One can see evidence of the influence of James Loewen, Linda Tuwahi Smith, Vine Deloria, Jack Forbes, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky. He is a longtime human rights activist and volunteer researcher for, which defends Native traditions from spiritual abusers, exploiters, and imposters. More information is at

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JohnJB reviewed on April 28, 2014

Dude, this is one badass book. I thought of that scene from Goodwill Hunting, where Matt Damon says a book changed his life. Any kid doing a bio in class on presidents should pick this up for research, and then watch the teacher's jaw drop when she hears the report.
It's mostly about why we shouldn't fight wars. Wish there had been more on the drug war. The guy should write a whole book on that.
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Elizabeth Ann Grossman reviewed on April 26, 2014

The author impressed me most of all as a humane dedicated Catholic. No doubt he admires the current Pope quite a bit. A Catholic in the mold of Daniel Berrigan, not Pat Buchanan or Bill O'Reilly. In fact he slams O'Reilly specifically for threatening violence against an abortion provider. I wonder if O'Reilly will target him and smear him as he's done so many others.

The introduction talks about serving God's work, not Mammon or Babylon. Only a man of faith would write such words. And he takes to task both Communists and Libertarians. He actually compares the two in the conclusion as both people without morality.

I was really impressed with the wide range of information, from Washington and Jefferson's failings all the way to Obama's. Most of the writing shows presidents as far too willing to go to war, invade, or overthrow, all done to chase after power. The same presidents do little to nothing when genocides happen, especially if the people are African, Asian, or Native Americans right here in our own and their homes. I had never heard of California Indian genocide and was shocked to find the home of Hollywood films once sold Indian slaves from the jails.

I don't claim to know enough about Native Americans to say much about them. But from the reviews and elsewhere online I think I will take a look at his other book Medicine Bags and Dog Tags. Looks interesting.

The only fault I could see is I wish he had written more about women's rights. What presidents have done to advance or halt gender equality? I see he is pretty harsh on Hillary, and he has a point. After reading this I don't know if I'll vote for her. Maybe only as the lesser of two evils.
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SamBear reviewed on April 23, 2014

Dr. Carroll is well known in Indian Country. He has fought for many years to protect our sacred ways from the wasichu colonial spiritual invaders at his site He also has a very good book on our Native vets. I have read this also and his words honoring our warriors are good.

I am glad he represents an Indian point of view on American presidents. Yes he is a strong Catholic also, but I have known both good and bad Christians. He is a Christian offering a helping hand, not a closed fist or closed mind.

Obviously I'm going to say most about what he writes about how presidents have treated Indians. Jackson is the third worst president because of the Trail of Tears. Most of the Five Tribes say he was the worst. But I understand why Carroll lists Reagan as even worse. Reagan killed so many more of our Indians cousins, Mayans of Guatemala. Nixon is the worst president he says, and most Vietnam vets will tell you the same. Both Nixon and Reagan should not be honored by anyone. They should have faced a firing squad like Eichmann.

A lot of my Dakota relatives will disagree about Carroll saying Lincoln was our greatest president. We remember the Dakota 38, the worst mass hanging in America's history. But I never knew that Lincoln saved 270 of my relations from being hung. I also never knew Lincoln saved so many Indians in California.

The words you have written are very good Dr. Carroll. I hope many heed them.
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Mark Sellers reviewed on April 22, 2014

This book did have a great deal of information to correct misinformation that is spouted as true. The only trouble I had with the book was the obvious slant of the authors personal beliefs. I'm sure he could have added numerous other examples.
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JohnMartine reviewed on April 21, 2014

I'm an avid reader of the likes of Zinn, Chomsky, and Loewen. This book fits well with their. It is a devastating critique of the presidency and its failures, contrary to the sunshine patriotism view one gets (mis)taught. It likely will appeal to you if you are much like me, cynical about power and presidents but not sure what information to believe or where to find it.

In his intro he states that politics and history are too important to be left to professionals. Then he lays out his case for judging presidents on humanitarian standards. Not their party, not left or right, and he goes into a thorough debunking of nonsense claims about liberal media or universities.

It is a revelation that Nixon and Jackson both ordered genocide, and Reagan worked with generals committing genocide in Central America. One president after another comes up lacking. Clinton and FDR are taken apart for ignoring genocide. LBJ, Nixon, and GW Bush all ordered torture, and Obama ordered assassinations.

But some presidents come off very well. Jimmy Carter was one of our greatest presidents and ex presidents. Grant as well.

Carroll is neither liberal nor conservative. He comes across as a devout compassionate Catholic. His favorite term is ideologically blind, meaning someone so dedicated to an abstract principle he will even let others die to prove it. Libertarians and hardline leftists will both hate him because he tears their worldviews to shreds. But, as he shows, they deserve it, because they are very often blind to the harm they do.

A search for him online shows he's American Indian, very well respected by most but deeply hated by racists and religious exploiters. More can be found at his website and his human rights organization of Natives, I join them in saying he has my respect, and I expcet this book will be much used as a resource by anyone wanting an antidote to all the hazy president worshipping bios.
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