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Command of Office: How War, Secrecy and Deception Transformed the Presidency, from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bushby Stephen Graubard
Synopses & Reviews
The modern presidency really begins on September 14, 1901, argues Stephen Graubard, with the assassination of William McKinley and the succession of Teddy Roosevelt. TR's vigorous presidency foretold the expansion of wartime authority under Wilson; the growth of federal government under FDR; and the national security issues that dominated much of the foreign policy concerns during the, Cold War.
In his provocative new account of the enormous shift of power to the office of the American presidency, Graubard draws upon his intimate knowledge of every president since FDR to reveal the dangerous transformation of the executive branch in the last hundred years. Graubard sees three different "presidencies" over the course of the century, marked by increasing accumulation of authority: the presidency created by TR, Wilson, and FDR, continued under Truman and Eisenhower, in which foreign policy issues played a far greater role in presidential politics; the period of America's time of troubles from Kennedy to Carter, in which the disastrous Vietnam War spurred a further tendency to secrecy; and the third presidency, defined by Reagan and marked by spin.
Learning the lessons of Reagan and Clinton, George W. Bush has inherited a far more powerful office than the one originally envisioned by the Founding Fathers. With access to former members of both Republican and Democratic administrations, Graubard has written a masterful history of presidential power — one that anyone concerned with American politics will need to read.
"Graubard's historical analysis is thorough and his concluding discussion of Tocquville and Bryce fascinating. This important work deserves a wide audience." Library Journal
"Imperfect...but quite interesting: much like some of those very presidents." Kirkus Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Graubard (history, emeritus, Brown University) reveals the concentration of power in the American presidency over the course of the 20th century through analysis of the 18 men who have held the office and the events that shaped their presidencies. He argues that the modern presidency began after McKinley's assassination with the succession of Theodore Roosevelt, whose presidency foretold the expansion of wartime authority under Woodrow Wilson, the growth of federal government under Franklin Roosevelt, and the national security issues that dominated foreign policy during the Cold War. B&w historical photos are included.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In his provocative new account of the enormous shift of power to the office of the American presidency, Graubard draws upon his intimate knowledge of every president since FDR to reveal the dangerous transformation of the executive branch in the last hundred years.
A history of the remarkable shift of power to the American presidency, told through incisive analyses of the eighteen men who have held the office in the last century
About the Author
From 1961-1996, Stephen Graubard was the editor of Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Brown University. His involvement in the national political scene dates back to 1945, when Eleanor Roosevelt invited him to her husband's wartime inauguration. He has studied at George Washington University and Harvard, and holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He is the author of several books, including Kissinger: Portrait of a Mind, and Mr. Bush's War: Adventures in the Politics of Illusion. He now lives in London.
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