THE IMPOSSIBLE PRESIDENCY: THE RISE AND FALL OF AMERICA'S HIGHEST OFFICE by Jeremi Suri
The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office by Jeremi Suri
Why have recent presidents failed to create the change they promised? Should we blame the individual men, all flawed in their own ways? Or are there fundamental reasons why modern presidents fail to deliver, time and time again?
In The Impossible Presidency, historian Jeremi Suri charts the long rise and quick fall of the world's most important job, from the 1790s to the present day. As he shows, early presidents greatly expanded the power of the office beyond the limited role envisioned by the founders: Washington took charge of the nation's foreign policy, Jackson spoke directly to the common people, Lincoln linked war with democracy, and FDR expanded the federal government to combat economic depression and fascism.
Suri argues that the immense accomplishment of these giants left their successors with out-sized and unrealistic expectations. John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan lost control of their agendas as they were buffeted by the onrush of events and threats their predecessors never had to face, from nuclear crises to terrorist attacks. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were propelled to the presidency by their personal stories, but hamstrung by purient, partisan, and prejudiced criticisms of their leadership. As managers of the world's largest economy and military, contemporary presidents must react to a truly globalized world and a rapid twenty-four-hour news cycle. There is little room left for bold, strategic thinking.
Suri traces our disenchantment with recent presidents to the current mismatch between presidential promises and the limitations of the office. A masterful reassessment of presidential history, The Impossible Presidency is essential reading for anyone trying to understand America's fractured and ineffective government.
Basic Books, Hardcover, 1st Edition, 1st Printing, 2017
THIS IS A BRAND NEW BOOK.