Do not judge this book by its cover or its title. This is not a mere "how to rectify a chart" manual. Rather it is an in depth course on medieval natal astrology that employs rectification as its vehicle. How can an astrologer determine the true birth time of an individual knowing only an approximate birth time or perhaps only the date and location of birth of the native? The theory is that we take timed events in the native's life and connect those to various astrological phenomenon add in some physiognomy (physical appearance) and by manipulating the chart, determine the birth time necessary for all these events to occur "on time." Not so simple, but if astrology can predict events based on a known, accurate birth time, then it follows that astrology can determine a birth time based on timed events. In other words rectification is prediction in reverse, and every technique in the astrologer's toolkit is employed in order to get it right.
The anonymous author of this text chose to rectify the birth charts of every American President from George Washington through George W. Bush. American Presidents are good choices in that there is ample available information from which to choose events to compare to the charts. This also provides the reader with a glimpse into some mundane astrology as well as more than a few American Presidents were strongly connected to world events. An added bonus is that while attempting to use events to rectify the birth chart we get to glimpse some of the more human characteristics of the Presidents who shaped so much of this nation. For example we were all are taught that Lincoln was the "Great Emancipator." It then, for this writer anyway, is interesting to see him, perhaps for the first time, as a young, up and coming politician concerned with the navigability of the Sangamon River, a hot topic in his day, but not the sort of thing that whips the blood in 2008. Still it was an important part of his life and it shows in his chart.
This is traditional Western astrology at its best. The basic astrologer followed by the author is Abu Mashar (787-886). The reader is introduced early on, to some Arabic terminology and concepts. The author leans heavily on natural planetary motions such as primary directions, as well as some techniques based on symbolic planetary motion such as profections and firdaria, and some things known to modern astrologers like solar returns. And this only scratches the surface. We also get to see the importance of what are currently referred to as "minor dignities," the bounds (or terms), and decans (or faces). Add to this dwads, divisions of the thirty degrees of each sign into 2.5 degree divisions, one for each sign, and we are taught that that we can tease out details not found elsewhere in the chart.
Not everyone will be satisfied with all the rectification results, each of us having our own pet ideas about what this or that President's rising sign "ought" to be. Besides, the author makes no claims of infallibility. We are all free to disagree, but from now on, disagreements will have to be accompanied by some serious research. On the other hand it is nice to see some heavily relied upon birth times validated. The rectified chart of George W. Bush, for example varies from the accepted 7:26 AM by only 23 seconds. Yes, we are dealing with that level of precision. What everyone should be satisfied with is the depth and breadth of information made available in the text.
One of the most oft repeated complaints about traditional texts is that the English is difficult to follow due to its age (Lilly) or the translations are written by non-astrologers or are otherwise suspect. Not here. The book is well organized, and easy to follow. Granted readers familiar with traditional astrology will not need to seek definitions and clarifications, while a reader less familiar with older techniques might have to scurry to a reference now and then. It's worth the effort.
This book is not for the beginning astrology student. However, anyone with a solid astrology background can understand and benefit from it, even if they only become more familiar with the men who once held the highest office in the land.
A Rectification Manual, The American Presidency is an important addition to the literature and needs to be on the book shelf of every serious student of the art.