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Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan
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Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  213 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Thirty years ago Richard Neustadt published Presidential Power, which became a widely studied book on the theory and practice of presidential leadership. Presidents themselves read it and assign it to their staff for study, as did the intructors of hundreds of thousands of students of government. Now Richard Neustadt re-examines the theory of presidential power by testing ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 1991 by Free Press (first published January 1st 1960)
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Considered a foundational text in the study of presidents, but a book that sprinkles its bits of insight between long stretches of impenetrable prose. Neustadt actually served as a staff member for Truman's administration, and was a consultant for several later administrations, so he can mix his academic ideas with his practical experiences. However, he seems to want to equate the few examples on which he focuses with the totality of presidential decision making, and the sample feels much too sm ...more
Ben Hinkle
Jul 14, 2014 Ben Hinkle rated it it was amazing
Presidential Power is a bit of a slog if no one warns you what you're getting into. This is not meant to be a book about Constitutional law and the President's role in our governmental system. That's why no Con law classes assign this. It's also not really amazing as a history book, that's why no History classes assign this. It is, however, a great blueprint for how to accomplish what you need as a President. That's why Neustadt is required reading for almost every President's staffers since Neu ...more
Tony Cavicchi
Feb 27, 2016 Tony Cavicchi rated it it was amazing
Neustadt rejects institutional or physcological explanations for presidential performance in the core tenant of his book--"the President's power is his ability to persuade." At the beginning, he distinguishes between tactical power (how to quiet a Cabinet feud) versus strategic power (how does he improve his mastery of tomorrow, today).

Neustadt also begins, writing in 1960, by acknowledging differences among presidents--including presidents' massive growth in power since FDR. "A striking feature
Dec 13, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
Neustadt is the gold standard for understanding the modern American presidency. His book, nonpartisan, simply examines the different fields of power presidents, from FDR to Ronald Reagan, can wield power and influence. He has some basic ideas, that he himself seems to admit may not be entirely possible or practical, but his examples are largely presidential failures like the Bay of Pigs or Iran-Contra. A few more positive examples, aside from the three he has, of his system working, even if unpr ...more
Jun 20, 2008 Rich rated it it was ok
Shelves: high-school, history
This book's theories about the United States presidency are too general. He provides a few examples for his theories and then he provides a few exceptions. Presidential history is better suited for history than for politial science. I cannot stand how he lumps presidents' actions together as though every similar act apertains to a broad theory that speaks to how all presidents have made decisions. This also leads to a tremendous lack of narrative value. If he wants to talk about theories that bi ...more
Jul 27, 2007 stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poli-sci
probably THE book on executive power out there. seriously referenced in every other book on presidential power/growth/development/history, neustadt came up with the theories of the "modern" president, as well as the "imperial presidency", which, if you ever have read anything poli sci that has to do with the president, has probably referenced those ideas. turns out the "modern" president is actually a really specific idea in poli sci . . . and that's thanks to this book. parts of it are outdated ...more
Feb 26, 2016 Daniel rated it really liked it
excellent book on presidential power and decision making
Sep 22, 2008 Bill rated it liked it
A grueling book to get through but fascinating in its detail and analysis of why Presidents succeed and fail in achieving their objectives. I found particularly insightful the section on the hazards accruing from the transition period right before a new President takes office. Even a "successful" (i.e. well-managed) transition can cause problems down the road, which was somewhat of a surprise to me.
Kathy Elrick
Jun 24, 2012 Kathy Elrick rated it liked it
It's a presidential timeline outlining what presidents can really do (command) in their role. The format is a constructed narrative of several examples per chapter/argument, and I'm getting to the point of how presidents persuade, and what that means for policy...
Steven Peterson
Aug 29, 2010 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
What is the power of the president? To persuade, says Neustadt. This is an important work on the presidency and the power associated with that position. A classic.
Jan 19, 2013 Marian marked it as to-read
**I actually own the 1964 edition, titled "Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership"** 7th edition.
May 03, 2012 Luke rated it liked it
This is the definitive text on the Presidency in American pol sci.
For anyone interested in modern American politics. Written in 1960.
Jul 16, 2007 Dominic rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Supposedly your supposed to read this if your into PoliSci
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