by Amity Shlaes
HarperCollins, 576 pages, $35

Walter Lippmann might have captured the conservative greatness of Coolidge even as his words dripped with irony. “Mr. Coolidge’s genius for inactivity,” wrote Lippmann in 1926, “is developed to a very high point. It is far from being an indolent inactivity. It is a grim, determined, alert inactivity which keeps Mr. Coolidge occupied constantly . . . a steady application to the task of neutralizing and thwarting political activity wherever there are signs of life.”

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