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Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House
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Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  92 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Where Does Your Favorite President Rank?

Based on a completely new nationwide survey prepared exclusively for this edition of Presidential Leadership, two of America's most prominent institutions, The Wall Street Journal and the Federalist Society, explore just what it is that makes a president great and then rank each from best to worst. Now with updated chapters on Bush
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 13th 2005 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Feb 10, 2014 Stacy rated it liked it
The two editors for this book are James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal and Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society. I say this so that you understand the editors and the conductors of the survey are from a strictly conservative viewpoint. This was not as much of an issue the first half of the book as the Presidents had all been dead a number of years. Once in the 20th century the reviews of each President became decidedly pointed. Many could not resist unflattering comments about Bill Clinton ...more
Scott L.
May 13, 2012 Scott L. rated it it was ok
This book is so obviously slanted to the political right. Some of the later Presidents, such as Bill Clinton (so obviously hated by the Right) are given very nasty assessments of their Presidency. Others, like Andrew Jackson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, are grudgingly given their due by the authors. I would have enjoyed this book much more had it been written with a more neutral position. It was OK, but I cannot really recommend it.
Dec 13, 2007 Robbie rated it really liked it
Great for starting aruments amongst presidential nerds!
Feb 06, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it
The Wall Street Journal and Federalist Society in Oct. 2000 conducted a survey of historians, political scientists, and law professors to rate each American President on a scale of 1-5. This book presents the results of that ranking and collects brief essays on each President from prominent individuals such as Peggy Noonan, John McCain, and Glenn Reynolds. It is interesting to see how the men are viewed today, though the essays are sometimes at odds with the rankings.
Dan Ragsdale
Feb 23, 2010 Dan Ragsdale rated it really liked it
A collection of good basic summaries of philosophies, contributions,and most interestingly, shortcomings of our first 43 presidents.

The ratings are especially intriguing - Pierce and Buchanan had a rough go of it. I find it amazing how life experiences, intellectual capacity, and knowledge of domestic and/or international affairs before taking office are frequently not very good predictors of a successful presidency. What is not surprisingly is that leaders of character have often flourished wh
May 20, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history lovers
Shelves: history
A good introduction to presidential leadership. The editors, from the Wall Street Journal and the Federalist Society, provide a means through ranking and judging our presidents. The editors discuss who was involved in helping to determine the ranking and the methodology used. Each president is analyzed by a different author in short compact essays. The book ends with different historians analyzing presidential leadership in times of war, economics, and their relation with the Supreme Court.

If y
Robert Clay
Aug 19, 2007 Robert Clay rated it liked it
This book provides a rating of all the presidents based upon a survey from esteemed historians, lawyers, and political scientists, accompanied by short essays over each president and aspects of leadership. It's a Wall Street Journal book, so some of the essays are noticeably conservative, but it is still a good basic reference book.
Mara Mellstrom
Dec 29, 2012 Mara Mellstrom rated it liked it
Interesting book for those looking for a readable summary of each presidency. Focuses on not only policy but also presidential personalities and approaches to the presidency. A great Presidents 101 if you will. Definitely thought provoking with a plethora or great authors behind it.
Nov 26, 2008 Brad marked it as to-read
Shelves: books-i-own, to-sell
This book was a little bias in their ratings of Presidents, but overall still interesting to see how they were rated by other people. I would still recommend this book to anyone studying the U.S. Presidency because it offers a different look at some of our past Presidents.
Joshua Perry
Aug 12, 2012 Joshua Perry rated it really liked it
Worthwhile introduction to the men who have led our country. Many great leaders. Some inexplicably bad ones. Written from a relatively conservative viewpoint (although the rankings are more liberal: FDR is rated at #3). Useful and concise.
Ryan Splenda
Jul 08, 2012 Ryan Splenda rated it liked it
An interesting effort to rank some of America's greatest and worst presidents. There are sufficient arguments for both sides that are presented by the various authors. Nevertheless, it is impossible to rank ANYTING withouut disagreement.
Steven Raszewski
Dec 26, 2013 Steven Raszewski rated it liked it
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
Shelves: history
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