By Tim Stack
Updated April 06, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Using diaries of Millard Fillmore that supposedly were just found, George Pendle reimagines our 13th president as a latter-day Forrest Gump: In The Remarkable Millard Fillmore, the subject of Pendle’s faux biography befriends a young, suicidal Edgar Allan Poe and accompanies Abe Lincoln to Ford’s Theatre, unwittingly handing John Wilkes Booth his gun. Pendle deserves kudos for his attention to detail (even the footnotes are funny) and dry humor (”The fact that classes at the Electoral College convene only once every four years had led to its reputation as something of a ‘party school”’). But his creative spin on history lacks narrative tension. In the end, Fillmore seems…unremarkable. B

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