The Magazine

The Student Princes

A child is the father to the president here.

Aug 13, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 45 • By KATHERINE EASTLAND
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"Memories" and the rest of "School House" lack an element of the heroic. Departing the show, neither the child nor the adult comes away in awe of, or even with a deeper respect for, the presidency; only a warm sense of familiarity. Nonetheless, in the opening scene, a few documents reveal that the presidents themselves had heroes. Here are Ronald Reagan's words, framed on a wooden shelf:

During those first years in Dixon, I was a voracious reader, and once I found a fictional hero I liked, I would consume everything I could about him. After reading one Rover Boys book, for example, I wouldn't stop until I'd finished all of them.

Beside this, the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower:

My first reading love was ancient history. . . . Such people as Han nibal, Caesar, Pericles, Socrates, Themistocles, Miltiades, and Leonidas were my white hats, my heroes. Xerxes, Darius, Alcibiades, Brutus, and Nero wore black ones.

Children would do well to follow this passion for reading. As one mother said to her son, standing beside an exhibit bookcase: "Pick one of the books the presidents liked. We'll buy a copy on the way home."

Replied the boy: "May I pick two? I think I like Caesar and Tarzan!"

Katherine Eastland is an intern at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.