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The Decline and Fall of the American Republic

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  36 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Bruce Ackerman shows how the institutional dynamics of the last half-century have transformed the American presidency into a potential platform for political extremism and lawlessness. Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the War on Terror are only symptoms of deeper pathologies. Ackerman points to a series of developments that have previously been treated independently of one anot ...more
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Belknap Press
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Pavol Hardos
If you want to know what and how and why will most likely go wrong with the Trump presidency (with bits on how it actually came about), this almost prophetic book from 2010 will probably prove indispensable.

Bruce Ackerman is an expert on the US constitution and he is sounding the alarm. A confluence of institutional, technological, and political developments is very likely to precipitate the downfall of the constitutional regime through a runaway presidency. This shouldn't be a surprise to any
May 24, 2011 Zach rated it really liked it
In this book Ackerman details the ascendancy of the modern executive. His analysis of the structure of our current system leads him to conclude that we are perilously close to a breakdown of republican democracy in which the Presidency will be able to ignore Congress and function as the sole legislator and executor.

It's written in very simple prose and is readily accessible to political neophytes and yet interesting and compelling for politicos too.

This scenario doesn't seem to far fetched, con
Sep 22, 2014 Steven rated it it was amazing
Another characteristically excellent treatment of deep structural issues from Ackerman. I will say only this on the book's substance: It was prescient. Ackerman almost exactly predicted the clash in the executive branch over the legality of the 2011 Libya intervention, and it looks like the same thing is happening with the 2014 Iraq intervention. N.b.: The book isn't pro- or anti-Obama. The argument, roughly, is that there are centralizing structural forces that, over time, are taking power over ...more
Mark Flowers
Jun 16, 2011 Mark Flowers rated it liked it
A fascinating book in many ways, but Ackerman spends too much time with "what if"s and the future of the presidency, and not nearly enough time looking at what is actually going on in the present. His conclusions are for the most part accurate (in my opinion) but his doomsday scenarios make it easy for detractors to argue against him.

As for his reform proposals: good luck. The Republic has already fallen as far as I can see. None of his proposals stands a chance.
Dec 17, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it
Shelves: conservatism
I don't know if my tag is appropriate for this title, but I'm sticking with it because it was recommended to me in a series of books.

Well-argued reaction to a growing power/control in the executive branch of government that pulls history, law, tradition, etc. into one. There are plenty of citations and notes (over 1/3 of the book is the appendix!) Nothing that blew my mind, but a smart read.
B Kevin
Dec 01, 2012 B Kevin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
A sobering account of the dangers to our civil liberties posed by ever expanding presidential authority. If we stay on our present course we face a constitutional disaster the next time are are attacked.
Jennings Peeler
Jan 14, 2015 Jennings Peeler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: project_2015

I leave this book hungry for action that will rein in the "new" powers of the presidency…even if it is at the expense of my party's agenda. Read this book if you are concerned about the future of our republic…and most especially if you are not…

Grey Pierce
Aug 22, 2012 Grey Pierce rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
Great book to read during final exams to relax.
Jun 09, 2013 Ihsaan rated it really liked it
An important book on the problems in the Executive branch.
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