Veeps: Profiles In Insignificance
By Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger
Hardcover. 287 pages.
Top Shelf Productions. 2008.
After all of these years of reading about Presidents, I’ve finally, finally, finally found a book about the Vice Presidents of the United States. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find a book about all of the Vice Presidents. Not very many have ever been written, and it’s probably because it’s hard to write about guys like Daniel D. Tompkins, William Almon Wheeler, Levi Parsons Morton, and James Schoolcraft Sherman.
Veeps: Profiles In Insignificance (Top Shelf Productions, 2008) is a hilarious, informative look at the Vice Presidents – an unusual group of men who have had a star-crossed history that doesn’t quite match up with that of their Presidential counterparts. In Veeps, Bill Kelter writes about these unusual leaders and Wayne Shellabarger illustrates the history and shows us what some of these little-known men looked like. It’s a creative, original, really cool book and I enjoyed reading it.
Our Vice Presidents have included murderers (Aaron Burr), drunks, senile old men, criminals, and so many VPs who have died in office, quit, or assumed the Presidency that the Vice Presidency has been actually been vacant for over THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS of this nation’s history.
The most fascinating (and frightening) aspect of Veeps is what a collection of weirdos we’ve elected to the second highest office in the land throughout our history. Not only that, but most of them have been relegated to the background and have had absolutely no power, no influence, and even no relationship with the President that they served along. Veeps covers 46 Vice Presidents (the book was published before the election of Joe Biden as Vice President #47) and Kelter and Shellabarger shows us that only about four of them had any serious influence (Garret A. Hobart, Walter Mondale, Al Gore, and Dick Cheney).
Now, a scholarly study of the Vice Presidency and Vice Presidents would probably not be everyone’s cup of tea, so don’t worry, Veeps is not that. It is certainly informative and I definitely learned a lot by reading Veeps, but this is a funny book. The subject matter is humorous because there’s just something funny about the Vice Presidency, and it helps that we’ve had so many goofy Vice Presidents (Spiro Agnew, anybody?). Bill Kelter is also a hilarious writer and Wayne Shellabarger adds to the humor of Veeps with his great art. And don’t neglect to check out the index, which might be the greatest index in the history of books.
Veeps is a great read. I loved it, and couldn’t put it down until it was finished. It’s also a great-looking book, with fantastic art and a sweet design. I highly recommend Veeps: Profiles In Insignificance by Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger, which is available now. You can order the cool-looking book or download it for your Kindle now. Also, check out Kelter and Shellabarger’s companion website, www.veeps.us.