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Forty-five American Boys william walsh

From Washington to Biden, Forty-five American Boys tells the story of each president’s childhood—told through fragments and quotes appropriated from more than 300 children’s books, pop history books, and scholarly biographies.

The biggest challenge that he faced while growing up was that he stuttered. His nickname was Dash. Not for his speed at sports but because his classmates thought his stop-and-start speech sounded like Morse code.
Because his mother was a nurse, she delivered him at the hospital in Plains, Georgia, making him the first American President born in a hospital.
Spelling contests aroused in him his competitive drive and his hatred of careless mistakes—he (later) became a self-confessed martinet on the subject of orthography.
He was under the shadow of his older brother who was the recipient of his father’s greatest hopes. Living in the shadow of his older brother was difficult.
A pale child with a shock of unruly fair hair, prominent teeth, and nearsighted blue eyes, he was almost a caricature of the pampered, protected child.

"In Forty-five American Boys, William Walsh limns a complete series of cabinet portraits that show how tales, memories, and artifacts create the story of a life. But, of course, these are not just any lives. These are about forty-five of the most ambitious men in American history. By witnessing their childhood, Walsh shows when the commonality of boyhood mixes with the seeds of idealism and determination—the early sparks for the eventual combustion that will create something larger than life. Forty-five American Boys is a meticulously crafted collage of myth, legend, and fact that tells us as much about these boys as it tells us about ourselves as individuals and as a culture."

— Adam Braver, author of Mr Lincoln’s Wars and November 22, 1963

He probably could have gotten better grades. Instead of doing his homework, he spent too much time memorizing the names and positions of major-league ball players.
He knew that sometimes people treated him differently because of his skin color. He stood out as one of the few African-Americans enrolled in the school. A girl at school wanted to touch his wiry hair.
He was a relatively placid child, serious and studious, and interested in everything. Though not at all effeminate, he liked to play with dolls when he visited families who had little girls.
His father instilled thrift in him by coaxing him to redeem soda-bottle deposits and forcing him to get summer jobs and paper routes. When it rained, he delivered newspapers from the back of a chauffeured limousine.
Though his family was poor, he never knew it. He had an upbeat outlook on life from the very beginning. He and his brother always called their mother and father by their first names.

"It is said that at the heart of every cliché lies a grain of truth. Each line of Forty-five American Boys flickers between cliché and truth, at turns inspiring and insipid, a device that propels a searing political critique. William Walsh demonstrates that, when done well, the selection and arrangement of previously existing texts can result in fabulously original literature."

— Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Capital: New York, Capital of the 20th Century and Wasting Time on the Internet

William Walsh is the author of Forty-five American Boys (Outpost 19), Stephen King Stephen King, Unknown Arts, Ampersand, Mass., Pathologies, Questionstruck (all from Keyhole Press) and Without Wax (Casperian Books). His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Always Crashing, Annalemma, Artifice, Caketrain, Hobart, Juked, LIT, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, New York Tyrant, Rosebud, and Quarterly West, as well as anthologies like The &NOW Anthology: Best of Innovative Writing, Dzanc's Best of the Web, and New Micro: Norton Anthology of Exceptionally Short Fiction.

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William Walsh
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