More related to leadership

From George Washington's decision to buy time for the new nation by signing the less-than-ideal Jay Treaty with Great Britain in 1795 to George W. Bush's order of a military intervention in Iraq in 2003, the matter of who is president of the United States is of the utmost importance. In this book, Fred Greenstein examines the leadership styles of the earliest presidents, men who served at a time when it was by no means certain that the American experiment in free government would succeed.

In his groundbreaking book The Presidential Difference, Greenstein evaluated the personal strengths and weaknesses of the modern presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Here, he takes us back to the very founding of the republic to apply the same yardsticks to the first seven presidents from Washington to Andrew Jackson, giving his no-nonsense assessment of the qualities that did and did not serve them well in office. For each president, Greenstein provides a concise history of his life and presidency, and evaluates him in the areas of public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, policy vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence. Washington, for example, used his organizational prowess--honed as a military commander and plantation owner--to lead an orderly administration. In contrast, John Adams was erudite but emotionally volatile, and his presidency was an organizational disaster.



Inventing the Job of President explains how these early presidents and their successors shaped the American presidency we know today and helped the new republic prosper despite profound challenges at home and abroad.

DIV The Buck Stops Here consists of twenty-eight engrossing accounts of the most important United States presidential decisions in history. They range from the abolition of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation to the acquisition of vast new territory with the Louisiana Purchase to the establishment of enduring institutions such as Medicare and America’s national parks. These decisions encompass, too, such less-well-known measures as the G.I. Bill of Rights, which cleared the way for more than two million veterans to receive a college education, as well as acts that reverberated worldwide, including Theodore Roosevelt’s construction of the Panama Canal, Harry S Truman’s deployment of the atom bomb, Richard Nixon’s visit to China, and John F. Kennedy’s pledge to put a man on the moon. Thomas J. Craughwell and Edwin Kiester Jr.’s fascinating survey of twenty-eight crucial presidential decisions opens a door into the White House’s corridors of power, giving readers an insider’s view of how and why these decisions were made, while providing a yardstick with which we might, perhaps, gauge the success of current and future presidents. Each chapter places the reader squarely in the historical period while presenting the issues at stake, the interests at work, and the obstacles encountered. This book takes the reader into the minds of some of American history’s greatest leaders and analyzes the enduring, often far-reaching, sometimes unforeseen consequences of these presidential decisions—in their own time, and right up to the present day. Some of these decisions were simply expedient; others required the courage of conviction in the face of intense opposition. Some were motivated by political loyalties, but many were evidently inspired by noble visions of a better nation, a fairer world. All were momentous, and helped define who we are and how we live now. /div
When Barack Obama became president, many Americans embraced him as a transformational leader who would fundamentally change the politics and policy of the country. Yet, two years into his administration, the public resisted his calls for support and Congress was deadlocked over many of his major policy proposals. How could this capable new president have difficulty attaining his goals? Did he lack tactical skills?

In Overreach, respected presidential scholar George Edwards argues that the problem was strategic, not tactical. He finds that in President Obama's first two years in office, Obama governed on the premise that he could create opportunities for change by persuading the public and some congressional Republicans to support his major initiatives. As a result, he proposed a large, expensive, and polarizing agenda in the middle of a severe economic crisis. The president's proposals alienated many Americans and led to a severe electoral defeat for the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections, undermining his ability to govern in the remainder of his term.


Edwards shows that the president's frustrations were predictable and the inevitable result of misunderstanding the nature of presidential power. The author demonstrates that the essence of successful presidential leadership is recognizing and exploiting existing opportunities, not in creating them through persuasion. When Obama succeeded in passing important policies, it was by mobilizing Democrats who were already predisposed to back him. Thus, to avoid overreaching, presidents should be alert to the limitations of their power to persuade and rigorously assess the possibilities for obtaining public and congressional support in their environments.

One of the most contentious issues in contemporary foreign policy—especially in the United States—is the use of military force to intervene in the domestic affairs of other states. Some military interventions explicitly try to transform the domestic institutions of the states they target; others do not, instead attempting only to reverse foreign policies or resolve disputes without trying to reshape the internal landscape of the target state. In Leaders at War, Elizabeth N. Saunders provides a framework for understanding when and why great powers seek to transform foreign institutions and societies through military interventions. She highlights a crucial but often-overlooked factor in international relations: the role of individual leaders.

Saunders argues that leaders' threat perceptions—specifically, whether they believe that threats ultimately originate from the internal characteristics of other states—influence both the decision to intervene and the choice of intervention strategy. These perceptions affect the degree to which leaders use intervention to remake the domestic institutions of target states. Using archival and historical sources, Saunders concentrates on U.S. military interventions during the Cold War, focusing on the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. After demonstrating the importance of leaders in this period, she also explores the theory's applicability to other historical and contemporary settings including the post–Cold War period and the war in Iraq.

This book is about values and principles that have formed the backbone of the exceptionality of America. These values and principles have shaped the way leadership in America has evolved and prescribed the way leaders have practiced their craft. It is about what both leaders and their followers implicitly know about what a good leader is and does and about why they follow one leader and not another. The book is about how leaders in all facets of society think—or should think—about their interrelationships with other human beings. For relationships is the essence of leadership. We can only lead those in some kind of association with us as. Only together can we do whatever task the leader of our particular organization asks of us today and every day of our lives. This is true not just at work, but in the family, our collective social and recreational pursuits, and even when alone doing something we want to get done. Because all we do ultimately will impact our attitudes and actions or those of others. For that finally is what leadership is—impact on another!

This book identifies the values and principles of leadership the founding leaders identified and used and that have marked American culture for over two centuries in all dimensions of life. It defines and delimits the actions and attitudes of mind of the exceptional leaders who first articulated and then led in terms of those values as they made America. The ideas about exceptional leadership discussed are taken from their own leadership example and from their thoughtful conclusions. The ideas are fully American. These first leaders drew up the blueprint for what America is and has become. Their creation has survived countless challenges over the two hundred years of its creation to become the United States of America.
These new essays prepared to commemorate the centennial of the National Institute of Social Sciences have been carefully crafted to deal with an overriding concern of our time--those elements in political rule that go beyond legal rights and responsibilities into the moral requirements of effective governance. The principal theme of this book is presidential leadership. The presidency personifies government authority, including moral authority.

In the first part of this book most of the essays argue that the moral authority of leaders depends on high personal standards as well as policy outcomes. The second segment on the rule of law and character raises considerations not limited to the presidency. Character and the authority that derives from it are demonstrated most effectively not by what someone does in his or her personal life, but in the moral values of the causes espoused and effectiveness in pursuing them. In the realm of international affairs, governmental leadership must wrestle with the moral and constitutional guidelines known as "reasons of state." Under what circumstances is it morally acceptable for a leader or government to practice deception upon the citizenry, to overthrow other governments, to bomb civilians?

Many contributors raise the issue of what permits a government to take actions that would be immoral or illegal in individuals or groups. The final segment expands and deepens this theme by exploring the work and role of non-governmental agencies that influence both leaders and citizens in the public arena. In short, at a period that brings to a close a period in which the presidency has become more visible as well as more prominent, this collective effort sheds new light on classic themes. It will be an invaluable guide as we enter the new century.

The contributors include an illustrious galaxy of public officials and political scientists, including Madeleine K. Albright, Judith A. Best, Betty Glad, C. Lowell Harriss, Travis Beal Jacobs, Ruth P. Morgan, Stanley A. Renshon, Donald L. Robinson and William vanden Heuvel.

Moorhead Kennedy is author of several works on terrorism and recipient of the Medal of Valor from the Department of State.

R. Gordon Hoxie is founding president of C.W. Post College, chancellor of Long Island University, and founding president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency. He is author and editor of many books, and founding editor of Presidential Studies Quarterly. Brenda Repland studied at the University of Oregon and Harvard Business School. She was formerly corporate account manager at Digital Equipment Corporation, and current president and managing partner of the Moorhead Kennedy Group.
The debate is as old as the American Republic and as current as this morning's headlines. Should a president employ the powers of the federal government to advance our national development and increase the influence and power of the United States around the world? Under what circumstances? What sort of balance should the president achieve between competing visions and values on the path to change? Over the course of American history, why have some presidents succeeded brilliantly in applying their power and influence while others have failed miserably?

In Lincoln's Way, historian Richard Striner tells the story of America's rise to global power and the presidential leaders who envisioned it and made it happen. From Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt within the Republican Party, the legacy was passed along to FDR—the Democratic Roosevelt—who bequeathed it to Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy.

Six presidents—three from each party—helped America fulfill its great potential. Their leadership spanned the huge gulf that exists between our ideological cultures: they drew from both conservative and liberal ideas, thus consolidating powerful centrist governance. No creed of mere "government for government's sake," their program was judicious: it used government for national necessities. But it also brought inspiring results, thus refuting the age-old American ultra-libertarian notion that "the government that governs best, governs least."

In a forceful narrative blending intellectual history and presidential biography, Striner presents the legacy in full. An important challenge to conventional wisdom, Lincoln's Way offers both an intriguing way of looking at the past and a much-needed lens through which to view the present. As a result, the book could change the way we think about the future.
By the time of Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th president of the United States, he had already developed an ambitious foreign policy vision. By his own account, he sought to bend the arc of history toward greater justice, freedom, and peace; within a year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, largely for that promise.

In Bending History, Martin Indyk, Kenneth Lieberthal, and Michael O'Hanlon measure Obama not only against the record of his predecessors and the immediate challenges of the day, but also against his own soaring rhetoric and inspiring goals. Bending History assesses the considerable accomplishments as well as the failures and seeks to explain what has happened.

Obama's best work has been on major and pressing foreign policy challenges—counterterrorism policy, including the daring raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden; the "reset" with Russia; managing the increasingly significant relationship with China; and handling the rogue states of Iran and North Korea. Policy on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, has reflected serious flaws in both strategy and execution. Afghanistan policy has been plagued by inconsistent messaging and teamwork. On important "softer" security issues—from energy and climate policy to problems in Africa and Mexico—the record is mixed. As for his early aspiration to reshape the international order, according greater roles and responsibilities to rising powers, Obama's efforts have been well-conceived but of limited effectiveness.

On issues of secondary importance, Obama has been disciplined in avoiding fruitless disputes (as with Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba) and insisting that others take the lead (as with Qaddafi in Libya). Notwithstanding several missteps, he has generally managed well the complex challenges of the Arab awakenings, striving to strike the right balance between U.S. values and interests.

The authors see Obama's foreign policy to date as a triumph of discipline and realism over ideology. He has been neither the transformative beacon his devotees have wanted, nor the weak apologist for America that his critics allege. They conclude that his grand strategy for promoting American interests in a tumultuous world may only now be emerging, and may yet be curtailed by conflict with Iran. Most of all, they argue that he or his successor will have to embrace U.S. economic renewal as the core foreign policy and national security challenge of the future.

"The urgent question of our time is whether we can make change our friend and not our enemy....To renew America, we must be bold...must revitalize our democracy....Together with our friends and allies, we will work to shape change, lest it engulf us."
With those inaugural words, William Jefferson Clinton began his first term as President of the United States. Now, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and a former White House aide provide the first penetrating, thoughtful evaluation of President Clinton's leadership.
Before he was voted into office, Bill Clinton told the authors in an interview that he wanted to be a transforming leader, a president who would fashion real and lasting change in peoples' lives, in the tradition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But how has this president, who has sought to lead from the center with his vice president, Al Gore, and the First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, measured up against his own stated goals and the aspirations and performances of other presidents since World War II? From the health care debacle and the 1994 midterm elections that swept the Republicans to a majority in both houses of Congress to the effect of scandal and impeachment on his ability to govern, Dead Center examines the leadership style of Bill Clinton and offers a forceful challenge to the strategy of centrism.
There is no more respected presidential historian than James MacGregor Burns, author of several acclaimed books on leadership and the Pulitzer Prize-winning study of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Georgia J. Sorenson adds her own insights as a political scientist and presidential scholar. Their combined efforts have resulted in an incisive, informative, authoritative work and an absorbing read.
Modern presidents are usually depicted as party "predators" who neglect their parties, exploit them for personal advantage, or undercut their organizational capacities. Challenging this view, Presidential Party Building demonstrates that every Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower worked to build his party into a more durable political organization while every Democratic president refused to do the same. Yet whether they supported their party or stood in its way, each president contributed to the distinctive organizational trajectories taken by the two parties in the modern era.

Unearthing new archival evidence, Daniel Galvin reveals that Republican presidents responded to their party's minority status by building its capacities to mobilize voters, recruit candidates, train activists, provide campaign services, and raise funds. From Eisenhower's "Modern Republicanism" to Richard Nixon's "New Majority" to George W. Bush's hopes for a partisan realignment, Republican presidents saw party building as a means of forging a new political majority in their image. Though they usually met with little success, their efforts made important contributions to the GOP's cumulative organizational development. Democratic presidents, in contrast, were primarily interested in exploiting the majority they inherited, not in building a new one. Until their majority disappeared during Bill Clinton's presidency, Democratic presidents eschewed party building and expressed indifference to the long-term effects of their actions.


Bringing these dynamics into sharp relief, Presidential Party Building offers profound new insights into presidential behavior, party organizational change, and modern American political development.

Millions of Americans—including many experienced politicians—viewed Barack Obama through a prism of high expectations, based on a belief in the power of presidential persuasion. Yet many who were inspired by candidate Obama were disappointed in what he was able to accomplish once in the White House. They could not understand why he often was unable to leverage his position and political skills to move the public and Congress to support his initiatives. Predicting the Presidency explains why Obama had such difficulty bringing about the change he promised, and challenges the conventional wisdom about presidential leadership.

In this incisive book, George Edwards shows how we can ask a few fundamental questions about the context of a presidency—the president's strategic position or opportunity structure—and use the answers to predict a president's success in winning support for his initiatives. If presidential success is largely determined by a president's strategic position, what role does persuasion play? Almost every president finds that a significant segment of the public and his fellow partisans in Congress are predisposed to follow his lead. Others may support the White House out of self-interest. Edwards explores the possibilities of the president exploiting such support, providing a more realistic view of the potential of presidential persuasion.

Written by a leading presidential scholar, Predicting the Presidency sheds new light on the limitations and opportunities of presidential leadership.

As the world moves into the Information Age, globalization continues to alter the customary relationships among peoples, societies, and nations that evolved during the Industrial Age. Author Daniel Gerstein, however, maintains the United States still follows an Industrial Age framework for national security. Despite such recent changes as creating the Department of Homeland Security and the post of a director for national intelligence, the current U.S. national security strategy remains based on the National Security Act of 1947. To advance the U.S. response to the particular demands of the Information Age, Gerstein proposes nothing short of overhauling our nation’s security strategy and, more important, complementary changes to the U.S. approach to strategic leadership. Beginning with the foundations of leadership, Gerstein addresses four key abilities that the twenty-first-century leader must master for the Information Age: (1) to develop and communicate a vision, (2) to incorporate new tools for analysis and for enhancing the leader’s judgment or reasoning skills, (3) to gain greater perspective in developing national strategies, and (4) to promote the three I’s—imagination, innovation, and initiative. While theories and accepted methods of leadership remain relevant, they must be augmented with new and improved concepts. The fundamental premise of Leading at the Speed of Light is that leadership skills will require changes and enhancements to ensure that leaders are capable of performing in a data- and information-rich environment that is often uncertain and challenging.
FDR -- the wily political opportunist glowing with charismatic charm, a leader venerated and hated with equal vigor -- such is one common notion of a president elected to an unprecedented four terms. But in this first comprehensive study of Roosevelt's leadership of the Democratic party, Sean Savage reveals a different man. He contends that, far from being a mere opportunist, Roosevelt brought to the party a conscious agenda, a longterm strategy of creating a liberal Democracy that would be an enduring majority force in American politics.

The roots of Roosevelt's plan for the party ran back to his experiences with New York politics in the 1920s. It was here, Savage argues, that Roosevelt first began to perceive that a pluralistic voting base and a liberal philosophy offered the best way for Democrats to contend with the established Republican organization. With the collapse of the economy in 1929 and the discrediting of Republican fiscal policy, Roosevelt was ready to carry his views to the national scene when elected president in 1932.

Through his analysis of the New Deal, Savage shows how Roosevelt made use of these programs to develop a policy agenda for the Democratic party, to establish a liberal ideology, and, most important, to create a coalition of interest groups and voting blocs that would continue to sustain the party long after his death. A significant aspect of Roosevelt's leadership was his reform of the Democratic National Committee, which was designed to make the party's organization more open and participatory in setting electoral platforms and in raising financial support.

Savage's exploration of Roosevelt's party leadership offers a new perspective on the New Deal era and on one of America's great presidents that will be valuable for historians and political scientists alike.

DIV What were they thinking? • In an effort to put an end to Britain and France’s policy of seizing American ships and sailors, Thomas Jefferson calls for an embargo. The Result: 30,000 sailors put out of work; mercantile families bankrupted overnight; a nationwide economic depression; and the New England states, which depended heavily on international commerce, threaten to secede from the Union. • To promote the doctrine of popular sovereignty, Franklin Pierce approves the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and permits residents of Kansas and Nebraska to decide whether their territories will admit slavery. The Result: Dozens of settlers murdered; Lawrence, Kansas, burned and looted; John Brown elevated to the status of national hero among abolitionists; the country moves closer to civil war. • Convinced the 20,000 men, women, and children of the Bonus Army were Communists and criminals, Herbert Hoover sends 600 crack troops, a detachment of cavalry, and five tanks to drive the protesters out of Washington. The Result: 4 dead, including two infants; more than 1,000 injured; the Communist Party in America enjoys a public relations field day; Hoover is driven into political exile. • In an effort to install a capitalist government in the Middle East, stabilize the region, and protect America from a possible Iraqi terrorist assault using weapons of mass destruction, George W. Bush orders the invasion of Iraq. The Result: More than 4,000 American soldiers and personnel dead; estimated hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead; hundreds of billions of dollars spent; the torture of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction leave American global credibility in tatters. /div
This book examines the political thought of Theodore Roosevelt, specifically his ceaseless desire and effort to reconcile America's individualistic tradition with the more collectivistic ideals of his Progressive brethren. Many scholars and lay-people alike cast Roosevelt as either 'conservative' or 'liberal,' but his political thought defies so simple an interpretation; it was more nuanced and had a larger purpose than mere ideology. A thorough study of Roosevelt's writings reveals his conviction that the concepts of personal autonomy and civic concern were not mutually exclusive. In fact, Roosevelt argued that it was because the principles of self-reliance and personal freedom were important that it was sometimes necessary for the entire community to use its collective power_and, in some cases, the institutions of the government_to enable individuals to do what they could not do alone. Moreover, while Roosevelt advocated and was responsible for a great expansion in the regulatory powers of the national government, he understood, in contrast to many other Progressive reformers, that inspirational rhetoric and positive example could be as good as institutional reform and the force of law in compelling individuals to support one another in a spirit of civic attachment. In his public writings, Roosevelt sought to shape the American mind in ways that he thought proper. Even his writings on nature, hunting, ranching, and military life were part of his political thought in that they were intended to teach Americans about the importance of balancing those individualistic values that are healthy and vital to a society (discipline, personal responsibility, and a strong work ethic) with such positive collectivistic values as an appreciation for mutual support and a concern for the good of the community.
Americans have long been defined by how they face adversity. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in how the nation's chief executive has tackled myriad issues upon entering the White House. The ways that U.S. presidents handle the vast responsibilities of the Oval Office determine the fate of the nation---and, in many cases, the fate of the world.

In this fascinating narrative, presidential historian Mark Updegrove looks at eight U.S. presidents who inherited unprecedented crises immediately upon assuming the reigns of power. George Washington led a fragile and fledgling nation while defining the very role of the presidency. When Thomas Jefferson entered the White House, he faced a nation bitterly divided by a two-party schism far more severe than anything encountered today. John Tyler stepped into the office of the presidency during the constitutional crisis left by the first death of a sitting president. Abraham Lincoln inherited a divided nation on the brink of war. Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to quell America's fears during the depths of the Great Depression. His successor, Harry S. Truman, was sworn in as commander in chief at the close of World War II, and John F. Kennedy stepped into the increasingly heated atmosphere of the cold war. In the wake of Watergate, the first unelected president, Gerald R. Ford, aimed to end America's "long national nightmare."

As the forty-fourth president takes office, Updegrove presents a timely look at these chief executives and the challenges they faced. In examining the ways in which presidents have addressed crises, Baptism by Fire illustrates the importance of character in leadership—and in the resilience of America itself.

Daria Frezza covers six tumultuous decades of transatlantic history to examine how European theories of mass politics and crowd psychology influenced American social scientists' perception of crowds, mobs, democratic "people," and its leadership. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, the development of an urban-industrial mass society and the disordered influx of millions of immigrants required a redefinition of these important categories in American public discourse. Frezza shows how in the Atlantic crossing of ideas American social scientists reelaborated the European theories of crowd psychology and the racial theories then in fashion. Theorists made a sharp distinction between the irrationality of the crowd, including lynchings, and the rationality of the democratic "public."

However, this paradigm of a rational Anglo-Saxon male public in opposition to irrational mobs--traditionally considered to be composed of women, children, "savages"--was challenged by the reality of southern lynch mobs made up of white Anglo-Saxons, people who used mob violence as an instrument of subjugation over an allegedly inferior race. After World War I, when the topic of eugenics and immigration restrictions ignited the debate of exclusion/inclusion regarding U.S. citizenship, Franz Boas's work provided a significant counterbalance to the biased language of race. Furthermore, the very concept of democracy was questioned from many points of view.

During the Depression years, social scientists such as John Dewey critically analyzed the democratic system in comparison to European dictatorships. The debate then acquired an international dimension. In the "ideological rearmament of America" on the eve of World War II, social scientists criticized Nazi racism but at the same time stressed how racism was also deeply rooted in America. This is a fresh and provocative look at the parallels between the emergence of America as a world power and the maturing of the new discipline of social science.

A legendary Senator advises our next President on the commonsense values necessary to lead our nation
United States Senator Robert C. Byrd is the longest-serving member of the United States Senate in the history of our great Republic. Senator Byrd has served the people of West Virginia, and the nation, for fifty-four years, and has served alongside eleven Presidents. He was twice elected by his colleagues to the position of Senate Majority Leader and currently is chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Byrd has lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, the civil rights movement, the Cold War, the resignation of a U.S. President, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and traumatic military conflicts around the globe, including Iraq and Vietnam. Byrd has been a witness to it all. And now, in his ninetieth year of life, he wants to share the commonsense lessons he has learned from his unique vantage point in history.
In Letter to a New President, Byrd recounts lessons drawn from his remarkable life as a young boy growing up poor in the coalfields of southern West Virginia to his meteoric rise to the pinnacles of power in Washington, D.C. From his unique vantage point in history, Byrd focuses his observations on underappreciated and seldom discussed virtues like personal responsibility, careful consideration before making decisions, and a sense of decency and fairness even toward fierce opponents. A student of history and a defender of our Constitution, Byrd looks to the past for lessons and, in Letter to a New President, studies present failures as guides for constructive lessons for the future.
This book will help the next President grapple with the heavy demands of the office. Every American who cares about where this country is heading will find rich wisdom in Byrd's sage advice.
Enlightened by a wide-ranging knowledge of American history and a love for the guiding principles of the Constitution, Byrd's observations sharpen the focus of the historical moment in which we find ourselves, as no one but Senator Byrd can.
How do presidents lead? If presidential power is the power to persuade, why is there a lack of evidence of presidential persuasion? George Edwards, one of the leading scholars of the American presidency, skillfully uses this contradiction as a springboard to examine--and ultimately challenge--the dominant paradigm of presidential leadership. The Strategic President contends that presidents cannot create opportunities for change by persuading others to support their policies. Instead, successful presidents facilitate change by recognizing opportunities and fashioning strategies and tactics to exploit them.

Edwards considers three extraordinary presidents--Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan--and shows that despite their considerable rhetorical skills, the public was unresponsive to their appeals for support. To achieve change, these leaders capitalized on existing public opinion. Edwards then explores the prospects for other presidents to do the same to advance their policies. Turning to Congress, he focuses first on the productive legislative periods of FDR, Lyndon Johnson, and Reagan, and finds that these presidents recognized especially favorable conditions for passing their agendas and effectively exploited these circumstances while they lasted. Edwards looks at presidents governing in less auspicious circumstances, and reveals that whatever successes these presidents enjoyed also resulted from the interplay of conditions and the presidents' skills at understanding and exploiting them.



The Strategic President revises the common assumptions of presidential scholarship and presents significant lessons for presidents' basic strategies of governance.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From a preeminent presidential historian comes a “monumental and profoundly important” (Ron Chernow) saga of America’s wartime chief executives

BILL GATES’S SUMMER READING LIST

Ten years in the research and writing, Presidents of War is a fresh, magisterial, intimate look at a procession of American leaders as they took the nation into conflict and mobilized their country for victory. It brings us into the room as they make the most difficult decisions that face any President, at times sending hundreds of thousands of American men and women to their deaths. 

From James Madison and the War of 1812 to recent times, we see them struggling with Congress, the courts, the press, their own advisors and antiwar protesters; seeking comfort from their spouses, families and friends; and dropping to their knees in prayer. We come to understand how these Presidents were able to withstand the pressures of war—both physically and emotionally—or were broken by them.

Beschloss’s interviews with surviving participants in the drama and his findings in original letters, diaries, once-classified national security documents, and other sources help him to tell this story in a way it has not been told before. Presidents of War combines the sense of being there with the overarching context of two centuries of American history. This important book shows how far we have traveled from the time of our Founders, who tried to constrain presidential power, to our modern day, when a single leader has the potential to launch nuclear weapons that can destroy much of the human race.

Praise for Presidents of War

"A marvelous narrative. . . . As Beschloss explains, the greatest wartime presidents successfully leaven military action with moral concerns. . . . Beschloss’s writing is clean and concise, and he admirably draws upon new documents. Some of the more titillating tidbits in the book are in the footnotes. . . . There are fascinating nuggets on virtually every page of Presidents of War. It is a superb and important book, superbly rendered.”—Jay Winik, The New York Times Book Review

"Sparkle and bite. . . . Valuable and engrossing study of how our chief executives have discharged the most significant of all their duties. . . . Excellent. . . . A fluent narrative that covers two centuries of national conflict.” —Richard Snow, The Wall Street Journal
There is no shortage of opinions on the legacy that George W. Bush will leave as 43rd President of the United States. Recognizing that Bush the Younger has been variously described as dimwitted, opportunistic, innovative, and bold, it would be presumptuous to draw any hard and fast conclusions about how history will view him. Nevertheless, it is well within academia's ability to begin to make preliminary judgments by weighing the evidence we do have and testing assumptions. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the initially successful military campaign in Afghanistan, Bush and his administration enjoyed nearly unprecedented popularity. But after failures in Iraq and in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Bush's approval ratings plummeted. Guided by a new framework, Judging Bush boldly takes steps to evaluate the highs and lows of the Bush legacy according to four types of competence: strategic, political, tactical, and moral. It offers a first look at the man, his domestic and foreign policies, and the executive office's relationship to the legislative and judicial branches from a distinguished and ideologically diverse set of award-winning political scientists and White House veterans. Topics include Bush's decision-making style, the management of the executive branch, the role and influence of Dick Cheney, elections and party realignment, the Bush economy, Hurricane Katrina, No Child Left Behind, and competing treatments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Contributors include Lara M. Brown, David B. Cohen, Jeffrey E. Cohen, Laura Conley, Jack Covarrubias, John J. DiIulio, Jr., William A. Galston, Frederick M. Hess, Karen M. Hult, Lori A. Johnson, Robert G. Kaufman, Anne M. Khademian, Lawrence J. Korb, Patrick McGuinn, Michael Moreland, Costas Panagopoulos, James P. Pfiffner, Richard E. Redding, Neil Reedy, Andrew Rudalevige, Charles E. Walcott, and Shirley Anne Warshaw.
Not since Pearl Harbor has an American president gone to Congress to request a declaration of war. Nevertheless, since then, one president after another, from Truman to Obama, has ordered American troops into wars all over the world. From Korea to Vietnam, Panama to Grenada, Lebanon to Bosnia, Afghanistan to Iraq—why have presidents sidestepped declarations of war? Marvin Kalb, former chief diplomatic correspondent for CBS and NBC News, explores this key question in his thirteenth book about the presidency and U.S. foreign policy.

Instead of a declaration of war, presidents have justified their war-making powers by citing "commitments," private and public, made by former presidents. Many of these commitments have been honored, but some betrayed. Surprisingly, given the tight U.S.-Israeli relationship, Israeli leaders feel that at times they have been betrayed by American presidents. Is it time for a negotiated defense treaty between the United States and Israel as a way of substituting for a string of secret presidential commitments?

From Israel to Vietnam, presidential commitments have proven to be tricky and dangerous. For example, one president after another committed the United States to the defense of South Vietnam, often without explanation. Over the years, these commitments mushroomed into national policy, leading to a war costing 58,000 American lives. Few in Congress or the media chose to question the war's provenance or legitimacy, until it was too late. No president saw the need for a declaration of war, considering one to be old-fashioned.

The word of a president can morph into a national commitment. It can become the functional equivalent of a declaration of war. Therefore, whenever a president "commits"the United States to a policy or course of action with, or increasingly without, congressional approval, watch out—the White House may be setting the nation on a road toward war.

The Road to War was a 2013 Foreword Reviews honorable mention in the subject of War & Military.

“Those who say that we’re in a time when there are no heroes, they just don’t know where to look.”
–President Ronald Reagan, January 20, 1981

Hero. It was a word most Americans weren’t using much in 1980. As they waited on gas and unemployment lines, as their enemies abroad grew ever more aggressive, and as one after another their leaders failed them, Americans began to believe the country’s greatness was fading.

Yet within two years the recession and gas shortage were over. Before the decade was out, the Cold War was won, the Berlin Wall came crashing down, and America was once more at the height of prosperity. And the nation had a new hero: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Reagan’s greatness is today widely acknowledged, but his legacy is still misunderstood. Democrats accept the effectiveness of his foreign policy but ignore the success of his domestic programs; Republicans cheer his victories over liberalism while ignoring his bitter battles with his own party’s establishment; historians speak of his eloquence and charisma but gloss over his brilliance in policy and clarity of vision.

From Steven F. Hayward, the critically acclaimed author of The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, comes the first complete, true story of this misunderstood, controversial, and deeply consequential presidency. Hayward pierces the myths and media narratives, masterfully documenting exactly what transpired behind the scenes during Reagan’s landmark presidency and revealing his real legacy.

What emerges is a compelling portrait of a man who arrived in office after thirty years of practical schooling in the ways of politics and power, possessing a clear vision of where he wanted to take the nation and a willingness to take firm charge of his own administration. His relentless drive to shrink government and lift the burdens of high taxation was born of a deep appreciation for the grander blessings of liberty. And it was this same outlook, extended to the world’s politically and economically enslaved nations, that shaped his foreign policy and lent his statecraft its great unifying power.

Over a decade in the making, and filled with fresh revelations, surprising insights, and an unerring eye for the telling detail, this provocative and authoritative book recalls a time when true leadership inspired a fallen nation to pick itself up, hold its head high, and take up the cause of freedom once again.
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