The second edition of this classic work adds a new chapter on Barack Obama and updates coverage of the end of the George W. Bush administration. Presidential scholar Erwin C. Hargrove extends his analytical framework of presidential effectiveness to show how Obama combines eventful leadership with pragmatism to move the nation forward in an intensely polarized partisan environment.
Features of the textbook:
- Uses an analytical framework to assess historical context, personal skills and attributes, and the ability to "make a difference" in each of ten presidencies.
- Four presidents are judged to be "event-making" leaders: Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush.
- Six presidents are assessed as "eventful" leaders: JFK, Ford, Carter, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and Obama.
- As much a study of leadership as an analysis of ten presidencies, this book adds to our understanding in political science, history, and public administration and management.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Effective President
Chapter 1: John F. Kennedy: A Cautious Reformer
Chapter 2: Lyndon B. Johnson: A Force of Nature
Chapter 3: Richard M. Nixon: A Tragic Hero?
Chapter 4: Gerald R. Ford: A Good Man
Chapter 5: Jimmy Carter: The Engineer President
Chapter 6: Ronald Reagan: A Romantic with Vision
Chapter 7: George H. W. Bush: The Patrician
Chapter 8: Bill Clinton: The Politician
Chapter 9: George W. Bush: The Risk Taker
Chapter 10: Barack Obama: Transformational or Transactional Leader?
Conclusion: Presidential Leadership Revisited
Praise for the first edition:
"Erwin Hargrove, already known as one of our greatest presidential historians, has given us a truly seminal, fascinating, and brilliant analysis of our last nine presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, which is essential reading to understand modern American history. He provides a genuinely fresh way to measure these presidents, not by where they stand on the typical spectrum of great and near great to our worst presidents, but rather by their effectiveness in resolving national problems within the historical context they inherited. Indeed, by recognizing the dangers of presidents who seek greatness only to overreach and bring disasters upon the U.S. and the world, he sets clear standards for effectiveness. He sees four 'event-making' presidents since 1961, who have changed history, and five others who have been 'eventful,' finding, ironically, that the former in many instances left a less positive legacy. His conclusion has a special message in today's world: 'We need effective eventful presidents most of the time and should be suspicious to those presidents with ambitions to greatness.' Many Americans would say 'Amen' to that finding."
-- Stuart E. Eizenstat, Presidential adviser to LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton
"In this tightly written, jam-packed volume, a distinguished presidential scholar skillfully analyzes how and whether Kennedy through Bush 43 served effectively. Never shy about making judgments, Erwin C. Hargrove provides a stimulating, provocative, and comparative interpretation of the contributions of these nine presidents to a 'healthy constitutional balance.'"
-- Charles O. Jones, Hawkins Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Wisconsinâ€”Madison
"Utilizing his considerable skills as both a storyteller and a political scientist, Erwin Hargrove reminds us that presidents who see themselves as heroes can be dangerous as well as heroic. Those who cope well with situations over which they have limited control do the day-to-day work a nation needs from a leader. This slim, conceptually rich book will be required reading for students of the presidency -- and, one hopes, for would-be presidents."
-- Alonzo L. Hamby, Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio University