Book picks similar to
The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History by Ken Gormley
The President Is Dead!: The Extraordinary Stories of the Presidential Deaths, Final Days, Burials, and Beyond
Louis L. Picone - 2016
You may have heard of a plot to rob Abraham Lincoln’s body from its grave site, but did you know that there was also attempts to steal Benjamin Harrison's and Andrew Jackson’s remains? The book also includes “Critical Death Information,” which prefaces each chapter, and a complete visitor’s guide to each grave site and death-related historical landmark. An “Almost Presidents” section includes chapters on John Hanson (first president under the Articles of Confederation), Sam Houston (former president of the Republic of Texas), David Rice Atchison (president for a day), and Jefferson Davis. Exhaustively researched, The President Is Dead! is richly layered with colorful facts and entertaining stories about how the presidents have passed. Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Impeachment: An American History
Jeffrey A. Engel - 2018
Designed to check tyrants or defend the nation from a commander-in-chief who refuses to do so, the process of impeachment outlined in the Constitution is what Thomas Jefferson called "the most formidable weapon for the purpose of a dominant faction that was ever contrived." It nullifies the will of voters, the basic foundation of legitimacy for all representative democracies. Only three times has a president's conduct led to such political disarray as to warrant his potential removal from office, transforming a political crisis into a constitutional one. None has yet succeeded. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for failing to kowtow to congressional leaders--and in a large sense, for failing to be Abraham Lincoln--yet survived his Senate trial. Richard Nixon resigned in July of 1974 after the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment for lying, obstructing justice, and employing his executive power for personal and political gain. Bill Clinton had an affair with a White House intern, but in 1999 faced trial in the Senate less for that prurient act than for lying under oath about it.In the first book to consider these three presidents alone, and the one thing they have in common, Jeffrey Engel, Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali, and Peter Baker explain that the basis and process of impeachment is more political than it is a legal verdict. The Constitution states that the president, "shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors," leaving room for historical precedent and the temperament of the time to weigh heavily on each case. These three cases highlight factors beyond the president's behavior that impact the likelihood and outcome of an impeachment: the president's relationship with Congress, the power and resilience of the office itself, and the polarization of the moment. This is a realist, rather than hypothetical, view of impeachment that looks to history for clues about its future--with one obvious candidate in mind.
Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House
Leonard Leo - 2004
Now with updated chapters on Bush and "Leadership in the Midst of Controversy," a wide range of eminent scholars, journalists, and political leaders evaluate the competence of our nation's chief executives, including that of George W. Bush's first complete term in office. From John McCain on Teddy Roosevelt to Kenneth Starr on Richard Nixon, editors James Taranto and Leonard Leo have collected a series of lively, provocative, and highly readable essays evaluating the terms of each of the forty-three U.S. presidents. Other contributors include Douglas Brinkley on James Polk, Melanie Kirkpatrick on Millard Fillmore, Jay Winik on Abraham Lincoln, and Lynne Cheney on James Madison. Fascinating and often surprising, the book reveals who was voted the most controversial and who was the most over- and underrated from the nationwide survey of liberal and conservative scholars, balanced to reflect the political makeup of the U.S. population as a whole. Presidential Leadership is a pleasure to read and an authoritative reference for every library.
Pat and Dick
Will Swift - 2014
But a very different image of the polarizing president emerges in this fascinating portrait of his relationship with Pat. Now, the couple’s recently released love letters and other private documents reveal that as surely as unremitting adversity can fray the fabric of a marriage, devotion can propel it to surmount disgrace and defeat. In Pat and Dick, biographer Will Swift brings his years of experience as a historian and as a marital therapist to this unique examination of a long-misunderstood marriage. Nixon the man was enormously complicated: brilliant, insecure, sometimes coldly calculating, and capable of surprising affection with his wife. Much less is known about Pat. With the help of personal writings and interviews with family and friends, Swift unveils a woman who was warm and vivacious, yet much shrewder and more accomplished than she has been given credit for. From Dick’s unrelenting crusade to marry the glamorous teacher he feared was out of his league through the myriad crises of his political career, the Nixons’ story is filled with hopes and disappointments, both intimate and global. This remarkable biography shows us the couple at their most human: a wife walking a delicate line between self-sacrifice and healthy love while her husband struggles to balance global ambitions and personal intimacy. The Nixons came to represent the best and worst of American life and culture. But though their union was tested by all manner of trials, they managed to find the strength, courage, and resilience to sustain a true connection for more than half a century.
Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency
Dan Abrams - 2018
Abraham Lincoln, who had been involved in more than three thousand cases--including more than twenty-five murder trials--during his two-decades-long career, was hired to defend him. This was to be his last great case as a lawyer.What normally would have been a local case took on momentous meaning. Lincoln's debates with Senator Stephen Douglas the previous fall had gained him a national following, transforming the little-known, self-taught lawyer into a respected politician. He was being urged to make a dark-horse run for the presidency in 1860. Taking this case involved great risk. His reputation was untarnished, but should he lose this trial, should Harrison be convicted of murder, the spotlight now focused so brightly on him might be dimmed. He had won his most recent murder trial with a daring and dramatic maneuver that had become a local legend, but another had ended with his client dangling from the end of a rope.The case posed painful personal challenges for Lincoln. The murder victim had trained for the law in his office, and Lincoln had been his friend and his mentor. His accused killer, the young man Lincoln would defend, was the son of a close friend and loyal supporter. And to win this trial he would have to form an unholy allegiance with a longtime enemy, a revivalist preacher he had twice run against for political office--and who had bitterly slandered Lincoln as an "infidel...too lacking in faith" to be elected.Lincoln's Last Trial captures the presidential hopeful's dramatic courtroom confrontations in vivid detail as he fights for his client--but also for his own blossoming political future. It is a moment in history that shines a light on our legal system, as in this case Lincoln fought a legal battle that remains incredibly relevant today.
Inside Camp David: The Private World of the Presidential Retreat
Michael Giorgione - 2017
Intensely private and completely secluded, the president's personal campground is situated deep in the woods, up miles of unmarked roads that are practically invisible to the untrained eye. Now, for the first time, we are allowed to travel along the mountain route and directly into the fascinating and intimate complex of rustic residential cabins, wildlife trails, and athletic courses that make up the presidential family room. For seventy-five years, Camp David has served as the president's private retreat. A home away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, this historic site is the ideal place for the First Family to relax, unwind, and, perhaps most important, escape from the incessant gaze of the media and the public. It has hosted decades of family gatherings for thirteen presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Barack Obama, including holiday celebrations, reunions, and even a wedding. But more than just a weekend getaway, Camp David has also been the site of private meetings and high-level summits with foreign leaders to foster diplomacy. Former Camp David commander Rear Admiral Michael Giorgione, CEC, USN (Ret.), takes us deep into this enigmatic and revered sanctuary. Combining fascinating first-person anecdotes of the presidents and their families with storied history and interviews with commanders both past and present, he reveals the intimate connection felt by the First Families with this historic retreat.
Humanity: How Jimmy Carter Lost an Election and Transformed the Post-Presidency (Kindle Single)
Jordan Michael Smith - 2016
Carter's unpopularity helped Republicans win seats in the House and gain control over the Senate for the first time in over 20 years. The Reagan Era had begun, ushering in a generation of conservative power. Democrats blamed Carter for this catastrophe and spent the next decade pretending he had never existed. Republicans cheered his demise and trotted out his name to scare voters for years to come. Carter and his wife Rosalynn returned to their farm in the small town of Plains, Georgia. They were humiliated, widely unpopular, and even in financial debt. 35 years later, Carter has become the most celebrated post-president in American history. He has won the Nobel Peace Prize, written bestselling books, and become lauded across the world for his efforts on behalf of peace and social justice. Ex-presidents now adopt the Carter model of leveraging their eminent status to benefit humanity. By pursuing diplomatic missions, leading missions to end poverty and working to eradicate disease around the world, Carter has transformed the idea of what a president can accomplish after leaving the White House.This is the story of how Jimmy Carter lost the biggest political prize on earth--but managed to win back something much greater. Jordan Michael Smith is a contributing writer at Salon and the Christian Science Monitor. His writing has appeared in print or online for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Slate, BBC, and many other publications. Born in Toronto, he holds a Master's of Arts in Political Science from Carleton University. He lives in New York City. www.jordanmichaelsmith.typepad.com.Cover design by Adil Dara.
The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn't): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game
Alvin S. Felzenberg - 2008
presidents on an all-time ranking: Certain presidents were Great,” others were Near-Great,” and so on down to Failures” and Unmitigated Disasters.” (OK, we made that last category up.) But as Alvin Felzenberg points out, there are many flaws with these rating systems. Despite reams of new historical information, the rankings never seem to change very much. They all favor a certain kind of president-those who tended to increase executive power. That aside, the idea of rating presidential performance on a simple linear scale is absurd. The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn’t) breaks presidential performance into easily understandable categories-character, vision, competence, foreign policy, economic policy, human rights, and legacy-and assesses, for each category, the best and worst. The result is a surprisingly fresh look at how the various presidents stack up against each other, with some of the greats” coming off far worse than their supposedly mediocre colleagues.
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House
Peter Baker - 2013
Confronted by one crisis after another, they struggled to protect the country, remake the world, and define their own relationship along the way. In Days of Fire, Peter Baker chronicles the history of the most consequential presidency in modern times through the prism of its two most compelling characters, capturing the elusive and shifting alliance of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney as no historian has done before. He brings to life with in-the-room immediacy all the drama of an era marked by devastating terror attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and financial collapse. The real story of Bush and Cheney is a far more fascinating tale than the familiar suspicion that Cheney was the power behind the throne. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with key players, and thousands of pages of never-released notes, memos, and other internal documents, Baker paints a riveting portrait of a partnership that evolved dramatically over time, from the early days when Bush leaned on Cheney, making him the most influential vice president in history, to their final hours, when the two had grown so far apart they were clashing in the West Wing. Together and separately, they were tested as no other president and vice president have been, first on a bright September morning, an unforgettable “day of fire” just months into the presidency, and on countless days of fire over the course of eight tumultuous years. Days of Fire is a monumental and definitive work that will rank with the best of presidential histories. As absorbing as a thriller, it is eye-opening and essential reading.
The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right
Michael J. Graetz - 2016
It is an “important book…a powerful corrective to the standard narrative of the Burger Court” (The New York Times Book Review).When Richard Nixon campaigned for the presidency in 1968 he promised to change the Supreme Court. With four appointments to the court, including Warren E. Burger as the chief justice, he did just that. In 1969, the Burger Court succeeded the famously liberal Warren Court, which had significantly expanded civil liberties and was despised by conservatives across the country. The Burger Court is often described as a “transitional” court between the Warren Court and the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts, a court where little of importance happened. But as this “landmark new book” (The Christian Science Monitor) shows, the Burger Court veered well to the right in such areas as criminal law, race, and corporate power. Authors Graetz and Greenhouse excavate the roots of the most significant Burger Court decisions and in “elegant, illuminating arguments” (The Washington Post) show how their legacy affects us today. “Timely and engaging” (Richmond Times-Dispatch), The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right draws on the personal papers of the justices as well as other archives to provide “the best kind of legal history: cogent, relevant, and timely” (Publishers Weekly).
Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics
Lawrence O'Donnell - 2017
Long before Lawrence O'Donnell was the anchor of his own political talk show, he was the Harvard Law-trained political aide to Senator Patrick Moynihan, one of postwar America's wisest political minds. The 1968 election was O'Donnell's own political coming of age, and Playing With Fire represents his master class in American electioneering, as well as an extraordinary human drama that captures a system, and a country, coming apart at the seams in real time. Nothing went to script. LBJ was confident he'd dispatch with Nixon, the GOP frontrunner; Johnson's greatest fear and real nemesis was RFK. But Kennedy and his team, despite their loathing of the president, weren't prepared to challenge their own party's incumbent. Then, out of nowhere, Eugene McCarthy shocked everyone with his disloyalty and threw his hat in the ring. A revolution seemed to be taking place, and LBJ, humiliated and bitter, began to look mortal. Then RFK leapt in, and all hell broke loose. Two assassinations and a week of bloody riots in Chicago around the Democratic Convention later, and the old Democratic Party was a smoldering ruin, and, in the last triumph of old machine politics, Hubert Humphrey stood alone in the wreckage. Suddenly Nixon was the frontrunner, having masterfully maintained a smooth facade behind which he feverishly held his party's right and left wings in the fold through a succession of ruthless maneuvers to see off George Romney, Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and the great outside threat to his new Southern Strategy, the arch-segregationist George Wallace. But then, amazingly, Humphrey began to close, and so, in late October, Nixon pulled off one of the greatest dirty tricks in American political history, an act that may well meet the statutory definition of treason. The tone was set for Watergate and all else that was to follow, all the way through to today.
Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency--21 Presidents, 21 Rooms, 21 Inside Stories
Paul Brandus - 2015
Kennedy was murdered, was a blood-red carpet installed in the Oval Office? If Abraham Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln Bedroom, where did he sleep?Why was one president nearly killed in the White House on inauguration day—and another secretly sworn in? What really happened in the Situation Room on September 11, 2001?History leaps off the page in this “riveting,” “fast-moving” and “highly entertaining” book on the presidency and White House in Under This Roof, from award-winning White House-based journalist Paul Brandus. Reporting from the West Wing briefing room since 2008, Brandus—the most followed White House journalist on Twitter (@WestWingReport)—weaves together stories of the presidents, their families, the events of their time—and an oft-ignored major character, the White House itself.From George Washington—who selected the winning design for the White House—to the current occupant, Barack Obama—the story of the White House is the story of America itself, Brandus writes. You’ll walk with John Adams through the still-unfinished mansion, and watch Thomas Jefferson plot to buy the Louisiana Territory Feel the fear and panic as British invaders approach the mansion in 1814—and Dolley Madison frantically saves a painting of Washington Gaze out the window with Abraham Lincoln as Confederate flags flutter in the breeze on the other side of the Potomac Be in the room as one president is secretly sworn in, and another gambles away the White House china in a card gameStand by the presidential bed as one First Lady—covering up her husband’s illness from the nation—secretly makes decisions on his behalf Learn how telephones, movies, radio, TV changed the presidency—and the nation itselfThrough triumph and tragedy, boom and bust, secrets and scandals, Brandus takes you to the presidential bedroom, movie theater, Situation Room, Oval Office and more. Under This Roof is a “sensuous account of the history of both the home of the President, and the men and women who designed, inhabited, and decorated it. Paul Brandus captivates with surprising, gloriously raw observations.”
Lincoln: A President for the Ages
Karl Weber - 2012
Frontiersman and backwoods attorney. Teller of bawdy tales and a spellbinding orator. A champion of liberty some called a would-be tyrant. Savior of the Union and the Great Emancipator. All these are Abraham Lincoln -- in his time America's most admired and reviled leader, and still our nation's most enigmatic and captivating hero. Timed to complement the new motion picture Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg, Lincoln: A President for the Ages introduces a new Lincoln grappling with some of history's greatest challenges. Would Lincoln have dropped the bomb on Hiroshima? How would he conduct the War on Terror? Would he favor women's suffrage or gay rights? Would today's Lincoln be a star on Facebook and Twitter? Would he embrace the religious right -- or denounce it? The answers come from an all-star array of historians and scholars, including Jean Baker, Richard Carwardine, Dan Farber, Andrew Ferguson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Allen C. Guelzo, Harold Holzer, James Malanowski, James Tackach, Frank J. Williams, and Douglas L. Wilson. Lincoln also features actor/activist Gloria Reuben describing how she played Elizabeth Keckley, the former-slave-turned-confidante of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln; and a selection of speeches and letters that explore little-known sides of Lincoln; "The Faces of Lincoln," exploring his complex contemporary legacy. Whether you're a lifetime admirer of Lincoln or newly intrigued by his story, Lincoln: A President for the Ages offers a fascinating glimpse of his many-sided legacy.