10th out of 20 books — 6 voters
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Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan
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 1976)
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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
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
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
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
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.
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...