Presidents of War

September 24, 2019 - Comment

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From a preeminent presidential historian comes a “monumental and profoundly important” (Ron Chernow) saga of America’s wartime chief executives BILL GATES’S SUMMER READING LIST Ten years in the research and writing, Presidents of War is a fresh, magisterial, intimate look at a procession of American leaders as they took the nation into conflict and

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From a preeminent presidential historian comes a “monumental and profoundly important” (Ron Chernow) saga of America’s wartime chief executives

BILL GATES’S SUMMER READING LIST

Ten years in the research and writing, Presidents of War is a fresh, magisterial, intimate look at a procession of American leaders as they took the nation into conflict and mobilized their country for victory. It brings us into the room as they make the most difficult decisions that face any President, at times sending hundreds of thousands of American men and women to their deaths. 

From James Madison and the War of 1812 to recent times, we see them struggling with Congress, the courts, the press, their own advisors and antiwar protesters; seeking comfort from their spouses, families and friends; and dropping to their knees in prayer. We come to understand how these Presidents were able to withstand the pressures of war—both physically and emotionally—or were broken by them.

Beschloss’s interviews with surviving participants in the drama and his findings in original letters, diaries, once-classified national security documents, and other sources help him to tell this story in a way it has not been told before. Presidents of War combines the sense of being there with the overarching context of two centuries of American history. This important book shows how far we have traveled from the time of our Founders, who tried to constrain presidential power, to our modern day, when a single leader has the potential to launch nuclear weapons that can destroy much of the human race.

Praise for Presidents of War

“A marvelous narrative. . . . As Beschloss explains, the greatest wartime presidents successfully leaven military action with moral concerns. . . . Beschloss’s writing is clean and concise, and he admirably draws upon new documents. Some of the more titillating tidbits in the book are in the footnotes. . . . There are fascinating nuggets on virtually every page of Presidents of War. It is a superb and important book, superbly rendered.”—Jay Winik, The New York Times Book Review

“Sparkle and bite. . . . Valuable and engrossing study of how our chief executives have discharged the most significant of all their duties. . . . Excellent. . . . A fluent narrative that covers two centuries of national conflict.” —Richard Snow, The Wall Street Journal

Product Features

  • Presidents of War Hardcover – October 9, 2018 by Michael Beschloss (Author)

Comments

Anonymous says:

The Imperial Presidency Goes to War In 1973 Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote “The Imperial Presidency” and described the situation that we have today, between a Presidency with an ever-increasing power, and a Congress that is incapable of fulfilling its function under the Constitution. Almost fifty years later the situation has become far worse; as is recounted in this very upsetting book.Even the title of Michael Beschloss’ new book seems…

Anonymous says:

Very well written, moving narrative The author brings us into the White House to watch each of the presidents who presided over Americas wars as they struggle with managing their wars. What we learned in history classes in high school really cleaned up these president’s handling of war. War is a messy thing at best, and acting as commander in chief during wars is almost beyond human abilities. The story of the war presidents we lived through is especially emotional to read. Don’t expect this book to arouse your patriotism…

Anonymous says:

Interesting Overview, but the Wars Were Very Different from each other I read “Presidents of War” for my church’s book group (the discussion is not for another ten days). I am not disappointed in the book (although I would have liked to read more than a few paragraphs about the current war in Afghanistan) but the book sort of left me disappointed in the American people for tolerating the current situation, in which the United States has become just like the European great powers of the eighteenth century whose example the Founders strove to avoid. I would…

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