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In this season of raucous campaign drama, Robert Merry provides clarifying context through a provocative analysis of how presidential politics works and how the country sets its course. Merry, author of the acclaimed James Polk biography A Country of Vast Designs and the new Where They Stand, in effect plays “Rate the Presidents” by comparing the judgments of historians and pollsters with how the voters saw things: He ranks “Men of Destiny’’ (think Lincoln); “Split-Decision Presidents’’ (Nixon); “Near Greats’’ (Jefferson); “War Presidents’’ (Lyndon Johnson); those whose standing has fluctuated (Eisenhower); and—sorry James Buchanan—flat-out failures. Presented as part of the Town Hall Civics series with University Book Store. Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, and the True/Brown Foundation.