ISBN is

978-0-691-11909-0 / 0691119090

The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush

by Greenstein, Fred I.

Publisher:Princeton University Press

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Princeton University's Fred I. Greenstein caps off an illustrious career as a presidential scholar with The Presidential Difference. This book won't fundamentally change the way anybody looks at the last 11 chief executives--Greenstein's earlier work The Hidden-Hand Presidency revolutionized the academy's view of Eisenhower--but it does provide a worthwhile series of minibiographies and analytical summations. Greenstein rates his subjects in several categories: communication, organization, political skill, vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence. His assessments can be quite frank: Roosevelt is the source of "endless positive lessons"; Truman "illustrates the cost of a defective communication style and a situation-determined approach to presidential leadership"; Ford is "underappreciated"; and so on. Who is Greenstein's favorite? It's clearly FDR, even though he confronts the question with an amusing anecdote about LBJ. Walking on a tarmac in Vietnam, an airman says, "This is your helicopter, Mr. President." Johnson replies, "They are all my helicopters." Writes Greenstein: "Each of the modern presidents is a source of insight, as much for his weaknesses as his strengths. The variation among them provides intellectual leverage, permitting comparisons and expanding our sense of the possible." And so, he writes, "They are all my presidents." --John J. Miller

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