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As Mr. Tucker explains, after 1924, the Democrats “remained on a consistently leftward tack.” To this day they are the party of more powerful and intrusive central government.

Similarly, while the Republicans “did not conclusively embrace conservatism until 1964 nor bring it back into the White House until 1980,” they have become the party of limited government and greater individual liberty. Mr. Tucker also notes that the Coolidge response to recession, lower taxes and less spending, worked in the 1920s and again in 1980, while after 1932, higher taxes and greater spending led to prolonged stagnation.

Mr. Tucker concludes by suggesting that, in the current economic crisis, we “consider the lives, the words, and the warnings of two of America’s greatest conservatives, John W. Davis and Calvin Coolidge.” His engaging book provides substantial support for this recommendation.

Mr. Tucker, whom I know, is the chief executive of a publicly traded finance company. He has obviously enjoyed a very successful business career. How fortunate for the rest of us that he also maintained a lifelong interest in history.

Ray Hartwell is a Navy veteran and Washington lawyer.