Cover image for Debrett's presidents of the United States of America
Debrett's presidents of the United States of America
Williamson, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Topsfield, Mass. : Salem House, 1989.
Physical Description:
208 pages ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E176.1 .W7233 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Apparently assuming an analogy between the American presidency and the British monarchy, Williamson (himself British) accords royal treatment to the presidents, replete with diagrammatic genealogies. The biographical summaries are trivial at best, but they do anchor the good stuff, the 50 color and 80 b&w illustrations of the presidents and their families in a variety of settings. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Author Notes

The author of 15 plays, as well as numerous screen and television scripts, David Williamson is certainly Australia's most prolific playwright. He is also the country's most popular dramatist and the one best known abroad. Finally, most critics and general theatergoers would agree that he is the best playwright Australia has produced so far. Although his screenplays move into areas outside Australia, the plays remain fixed in his native land. Always well received in Australia, they have also been successful in Europe and the United States. Williamson's greatest achievement, then, lies in the way he makes universal that experience peculiar to Australians. Born in a small town near Melbourne, Williamson did not appear destined for a theatrical career. While majoring in engineering in college, he began writing for campus productions, and soon turned to a career as a playwright. Not particularly experimental, each play is marked by firm structure, exact sense of place, vivid language, satire, and comedy. These elements cohere to reveal believable characters facing often ordinary conflicts. Their responses are sometimes mundane and muddled, and rarely does a resolution take place. Among his works of the 1970s, The Removalists (1971) uses techniques of theater of cruelty. The plot revolves around police violence against individuals as a metaphor for gratuitous violence in society. Don's Party (1971) reveals the public and personal frustrations of a group of professional men and women at an election day party. In The Coming of Stork, a group of educated, urban young men and women seek their places in the social structure. The adverse role the Vietnam War played in Australian society is depicted in Jugglers Three, while What If You Died Tomorrow dramatizes the effect of fame on marriage and family relationships. Later plays include Travelling North (1980), The Perfectionist (1982), Sons of Cain (1985), Emerald City (1987), and Top Silk (1990). Williamson has addressed a number of themes, many relevant to Australian society and to cultures in other parts of the world. Yet his plays are never didactic; they entertain first, and then challenge the viewer. Insisting that his work is naturalistic, Williamson does indeed create a very real picture of life. Always, though, the reality is tempered by comedy and by a sympathetic attitude toward the characters inhabiting the imaginary world of the stage---a world in which viewers at times see themselves and their own foibles exposed. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Published to celebrate the inauguration of George Bush as the 41st president of the United States, this guide to the U.S. presidents is filled with photographs and genealogical charts that help give readers a full picture of the personal and family history of each president. There is extensive information about the birth, marriage, and, where applicable, death of offspring and spouse(s). Unfortunately the prose passage which follows the chronological data is at times vague: ``Johnson's quiet but whirlwind efficiency ensured his re-election as President in 1964.'' ``. . . on the whole it was roses, roses all the way for Kennedy.'' For accounts which place the presidents in their historical context, a standard compilation such as Joseph N. Kane's Facts about the Presidents ( Wilson, 1981. 4th ed.) should be consulted. Debrett's is only a source of supplemental information. Olga Wise, Tandem Computers, Inc., Austin, Tex. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.