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History is not the property of an academic elite, it belongs to all of us. With this spirit in mind, Dr. Ryil Adamson embarks on a review of all of the United States Presidential elections under the guise of testing his pet theory which forms the title of his 2017 book The Best Looking One Always Wins. The theory is really a half-hearted excuse to coax the reader to come along for a fun and fact-filled review of every presidential election from Washington to Trump.

There is nothing scientific about the theory posed by the author and no one is more aware of that then him. Sample sizes are small and sometimes skewed (such as when the author chose his wife as the "hot panel" for an election in which he knew which candidate she was already "hot" for. The theory is a ruse to show that history can be fun, a literary example of Bill Wilson's Rule 62 ("don't take yourself too seriously") applied to history. The lesson is that it is possible to learn something interesting and educational in an atmosphere of fun and frivolity.

The book's strength is its concise review of each election, while hitting all the necessary and important highlights and capturing the nub of the issues, the turning points in each campaign and some of the most interesting anecdotes and quotes of each race, accompanied by a brief but insightful analysis of voting patters and close states that could have turned the tide.

Nit pickers and anal-retentive historians will find a few mistakes in the text, but these are few and insignificant. Towards the end of the book in his review of modern elections, the author lets his political preferences show, shedding the role of objective historian to tell you what he really thinks about some contemporary politicians. The author's use of his family and friends as test subjects for his theory give rise to some cute and funny segments, and the reader can easily imaging the unspoken eye-rolling as the author asks his kids to poll their friends and classmates about which past presidential candidate is "hotter". In one election, a no "hot poll" is taken because of the author's aversion to one of the candidate's "neck beard". But while all of this is going on the reader quickly works his or her way through a brilliant "Readers Digest version" of every presidential election, receiving a wonderful tutorial on American Presidential electoral history.

Does the best looking one always win the Presidency? If you want to learn the answer to that question, you might find yourself learning a thing or two about presidential electoral politics.

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