Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times

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Crown/Archetype, Oct 9, 2018 - History - 752 pages
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From a preeminent presidential historian comes a “superb and important” (The New York Times Book Review) saga of America’s wartime chief executives
 
“Fascinating and heartbreaking . . . timely . . . Beschloss’s broad scope lets you draw important crosscutting lessons about presidential leadership.”—Bill Gates
 
Widely acclaimed and ten years in the making, Michael Beschloss’s Presidents of War is an intimate and irresistibly readable chronicle of the Chief Executives who took the United States into conflict and mobilized it for victory. From the War of 1812 to Vietnam, we see these leaders considering the difficult decision to send hundreds of thousands of Americans to their deaths; struggling with Congress, the courts, the press, and antiwar protesters; seeking comfort from their spouses and friends; and dropping to their knees in prayer. Through Beschloss’s interviews with surviving participants and findings in original letters and once-classified national security documents, we come to understand how these Presidents were able to withstand the pressures of war—or were broken by them.
 
Presidents of War combines this sense of immediacy with the overarching context of two centuries of American history, traveling 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
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

5630. Presidents at War, by Michael Beschloss (read 31 May 2019) This is a 2018 book studying the actions of American presidents in regard to entry into war, It shows that Madison allowed himself to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wwj - LibraryThing

Presidents of War Michael Beschloss 5- As Volume I it is excellent worth a full 5. Unfortunately it stops with Vietnam with Johnson, a few sentences of Nixon’s years of Vietnam (I was at the Paris ... Read full review

Contents

MAN OF STRAW
37
THE MOST GLORIOUS WAR
64
THE COUNTRY IS NOW WIRTUALLY OURS
97
A PRESIDENTIAL WAR
121
FORT SUMTER
157
BLOOD FLOWING ALL ABOUT ME
196
MAINE BLOWN U P
240
WE MUST KEEP WHAT WE WANT
264
HOW COULD THIS THING HAPPEN
359
THE SURVIVAL WAR
392
I AM GOING TO LET THEM HAVE IT
435
I DONT ASK THEIR PERMISSION
461
WE GOT SLAPPED
492
I DO NOT HAVE A PARACHUTE
523
EPILOGUE
581
PHOTO CREDITS
697

THE WORLD IS ON FIRE
293
SALWATION OF MANKIND
317

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About the author (2018)

Michael Beschloss is the author of nine books on presidential history, including, most recently, the New York Times bestsellers Presidential Courage and The Conquerors, as well as two volumes on Lyndon Johnson’s White House tapes. He was also editor of the number-one global bestseller Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy. He is the NBC News Presidential Historian and a PBS NewsHour contributor and has received an Emmy and six honorary degrees.

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