Presidential Power

These books examine the executive branch and its power throughout U.S. history.

The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power
By Gene Healy
The Bush years have given rise to fears of a resurgent Imperial Presidency, but Healy argues the problem cannot be solved simply by bringing a new administration to power. Combining historical scholarship, legal analysis, and cultural commentary, The Cult of the Presidency argues that the office of chief executive needs to be reined in, with its powers checked by Congress and the courts. Only then will we begin to return the presidency to its proper constitutional role.

Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy
By Charlie Savage
Savage investigates how the Bush-Cheney administration has seized vast, unprecedented powers for the presidency. He argues that such imperialism stands to permanently alter the constitutional balance of American democracy.

The Power of the American Presidency book jacket

The Power of the American Presidency: 1789-2000
By Michael A. Genovese
In its more than 200-year history, the office of the President of the United States has undergone a variety of dramatic changes. Because our founding fathers left the privileges and responsibilities of the job constitutionally vague and ill-defined, each occupant of the office has tried to set the limits of presidential power as he has seen fit based on the domestic and international circumstances of the day as well as on his own ambition and abilities.

Failures of the Presidents: From the Whiskey Rebellion and War of 1812 to the Bay of Pigs and War in Iraq
By Thomas J. Craughwell with M. William Phelps
The 23 stories in this collection relay some of the disastrous blunders of American presidents and how some of the nation's greatest leaders could make decisions that were terribly wrong.

Presidential Power: Unchecked and Unbalanced
By Matthew Crenson and Benjamin Ginsberg
This book explores how American presidents – especially those of the past three decades – have increased the power of the presidency at the expense of democracy.

Eyewitness to Power book jacket

Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership: Nixon to Clinton
By David Gergen
As a White House advisor to four presidents, Gergen assesses the key leadership lessons each president offers. He identifies the core elements and how these lessons can benefit businesses everywhere.

Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush
By Thomas E. Woods, Jr. and Kevin R. C. Gutzman
From two bestselling authors and leading historians comes a look at how all three branches of the federal government have trampled on the U.S. Constitution for decades.

Presidential Ambition: How the Presidents Gained Power, Kept Power, and Got Things Done
By Richard Shenkman
In this timely and illuminating book, Richard Shenkman reveals that it is not just recent presidents but all presidents who have been ambitious, at times frighteningly so, and willing to sacrifice their health, family, loyalty, and values.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.