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

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

From a preeminent presidential historian comes a groundbreaking and often surprising narrative of America’s wartime chief executivesIt sometimes seems, in retrospect, as if America has been almost continuously at war. 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 i...

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Title:Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times
Author:Michael R. Beschloss
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Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times Reviews

  • CDB81

    I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway. So thanks to Goodreads and Crown Publishing.

    This is a fantastic piece of work exploring the thread running through American history of Presidents and their expanding war time powers. This book spotlights the presidents who fought unnecessary wars, the presidents who lied or manipulated actions to enter wars, and how these presidents chose to involve Congress before and during war time. The constitution grants Congress the power to declare war, but the author s

    I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway. So thanks to Goodreads and Crown Publishing.

    This is a fantastic piece of work exploring the thread running through American history of Presidents and their expanding war time powers. This book spotlights the presidents who fought unnecessary wars, the presidents who lied or manipulated actions to enter wars, and how these presidents chose to involve Congress before and during war time. The constitution grants Congress the power to declare war, but the author shows the slippery slope of presidential war time actions resulting in no congressional war declaration in over 50 years.

    I cannot recommend this book enough. One of the best books I have read on American history without a question.

  • Debra Jeakins

    PRESIDENTS OF WAR:THE EPIC STORY FROM 1807 TO MODERN TIMES BY MICHAEL BESCHLOSS takes the readers to a very young US and the War of 1812 to modern day war. Each President facing his worst nightmare : a nation at war and how each president handles it. From James Madison who is seen fleeing into the night as the White House burns to modern day, this book is wonderful for us "students of history" like myself. It is NOT, however, a dry book stuffed with just dry facts. It is written to make the hist

    PRESIDENTS OF WAR:THE EPIC STORY FROM 1807 TO MODERN TIMES BY MICHAEL BESCHLOSS takes the readers to a very young US and the War of 1812 to modern day war. Each President facing his worst nightmare : a nation at war and how each president handles it. From James Madison who is seen fleeing into the night as the White House burns to modern day, this book is wonderful for us "students of history" like myself. It is NOT, however, a dry book stuffed with just dry facts. It is written to make the history of our country come alive. Even though this is nonfiction (yes there is footnotes galore, ) it lets the reader live the moment and still learn new things about our country and our wars.

    I received this book free from goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

  • Argum

    I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

    An interesting thread to follow through American history, the presidents that served during wartime from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. A few chapters are devoted to each conflict with the background to the war and the man in office at the time along with politics more broadly. It is interesting how one bleeds into the next via the advisers or the young Congressman of one being President the next. But more importantly decisions made during

    I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.

    An interesting thread to follow through American history, the presidents that served during wartime from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. A few chapters are devoted to each conflict with the background to the war and the man in office at the time along with politics more broadly. It is interesting how one bleeds into the next via the advisers or the young Congressman of one being President the next. But more importantly decisions made during one inform the next whether it was from lessons learned about how to end it or how to get away with it to what to do with the public to keep up support. Deeply personal stories of the President as well as dirty politics share equal time in the narrative. Really hangs together as a cohesive story as well. WOnderful

  • Steve

    A interesting read throughout American history during past wars even to the present wars, shows how the President handles the conflicts and makes major decisions concerning the battles that were fought. It also tells of the emotional toll it made on the Presidents as well.

  • Lorna

    is a meticulously researched book that author Michael Beschloss has spent the last ten years in preparing it for publication by reviewing correspondence, diaries and declassified documents, which is quite apparent in the historical sweep and scope of the book. This historical narrative begins in 1807 with the assault on the USS Chesapeake and the measures taken by President Thomas Jefferson to avoid war through the Bush administration

    is a meticulously researched book that author Michael Beschloss has spent the last ten years in preparing it for publication by reviewing correspondence, diaries and declassified documents, which is quite apparent in the historical sweep and scope of the book. This historical narrative begins in 1807 with the assault on the USS Chesapeake and the measures taken by President Thomas Jefferson to avoid war through the Bush administration and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. My favorite parts were the struggles of President Lincoln during the Civil War; President Woodrow Wilson and his valiant efforts to keep the United States out of World War I; the administrations of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman during World War II; and the agony of President Lyndon Johnson over the war in Vietnam. This was a magnificent book that captured, not only history, but the humanity and struggles of our war presidents.

    -- Abraham Lincoln, Inaugural Address March 1861

  • Joseph Sciuto

    Michael Beschloss' "Presidents of War" is an extraordinary work, so extraordinary that it should be required reading for anyone seeking the Presidency, Vice Presidency, a Senate seat, a congressional seat or any cabinet positions in the United States Government. 

    This amazing piece of historical record brought me to tears on many occasions just thinking about the mothers and fathers who lost their children to wars fought for the benefit to get a President re-elected, out of selfish pride, stupid

    Michael Beschloss' "Presidents of War" is an extraordinary work, so extraordinary that it should be required reading for anyone seeking the Presidency, Vice Presidency, a Senate seat, a congressional seat or any cabinet positions in the United States Government. 

    This amazing piece of historical record brought me to tears on many occasions just thinking about the mothers and fathers who lost their children to wars fought for the benefit to get a President re-elected, out of selfish pride, stupid intelligence, and a rush to judgement without having all the facts. 

    The book covers all the wars the United States has been in since the "War of 1812" through "Vietnam" in great and enlightening detail. The Founder Fathers would be appalled at what Mr. Beschloss has uncovered, and considering that one of the ill-prepared Presidents who rushed to war is a Founding Father (Madison) is amazing.

    The only wartime President who truly shines in this book is President Lincoln (what a surprise) and to a much lesser extent President Franklin Roosevelt, more because of the way he handled the war than how he got us into the war.

    President Nixon, instead of being almost impeached, should of been hung as a traitor. President Johnson should of been imprisoned, and President Truman (who is one of my heroes) got us into Korea because of diplomatic mismanagement by him and his state department. Truman, the President, behind the Marshal Plan, NATO, and desegregating the armed forces failed in an area he was a specialist in and the result was tens of thousand US deaths and countless wounded.

    President Polk expanded US Terrority during the Mexican-American War by literally fabricating a lie, and in so doing added Texas, California, and New Mexico to our ever expanding country. And in an ironic twist, he captured those areas from the Mexicans who had been there long before us, and now are being called criminals when they try to cross over into the United States.

    The Presidency of the United States is supposed to represent one third of our government, yet every wartime President has amassed enormous power, disregarding the role the Congress is supposed to play in declaring war. Such a culmination of power was just what the Founders feared most because as the author reiterates throughout, the Constitution was written to protect any one individual from having such power like the Kings and Dictators throughout the world.

    An amazing book.

  • Seth

    Presidents of War covers the wars from 1812 through Vietnam. Each war gets a few chapters that deal with the President, the lead up to the war, and the general politics at the time. It is very interesting to see what led to the wars, how Presidents gained/kept/loss support for the war. The writing was excellent for a history book, but still a little dry. I would recommend this to anyone who likes American history. *I got this book via a Goodreads give away*

  • Paul Manoguerra

    Interesting tact to presenting the history of the United States: evaluating war, Presidents, the roles of Congress and the Constitution, and levels of truthful communication of goals. Key section for this week: “James Madison and his contemporaries...hoped that all future Presidents would be people of sagacity, self-restraint, honesty, experience, character, and profound respect for democratic ideals.”

  • Dave Schoettinger

    The author considers this book as being the history of American presidents using war to secure more power and independence of action at the expense of Congressional oversight; and it is that. However, as something of a history geek, I thought the best part of the book was the inclusion of some of the obscure details of the periods covered, such as the route James K. Polk took from Nashville to Washington for his inauguration, or the surprise connection between the Gulf of Tonkin attack and rock

    The author considers this book as being the history of American presidents using war to secure more power and independence of action at the expense of Congressional oversight; and it is that. However, as something of a history geek, I thought the best part of the book was the inclusion of some of the obscure details of the periods covered, such as the route James K. Polk took from Nashville to Washington for his inauguration, or the surprise connection between the Gulf of Tonkin attack and rock icon Jim Morrison.

    I also liked the quotes of various observers of history which show, among other things, that vile and tasteless attacks on the sitting president were not invented by Kathy Griffin, but have been, more or less, a staple part of the American saga.

    More seriously, the book delves into the hidden information, misleading statements, and outright fabrications used by presidents to lead the country into war and conduct the war. This goes hand-in-hand with the political determinations that were instrumental in the conduct of the war. A common thread is that no matter how much the citizenry clamors for war, they will soon tire of it and there will be a price to pay by the president who does not conclude the war quickly and his party. The narrative suggests that a couple of wars did not need to be fought and that almost all of them could have been conducted better and/or more honestly. It appears that the fog of war mentioned by Clausewitz extends not only to the White House, but also to the voters.

    I was a little disappointed that the author mentioned the First Gulf War only in passing as this was the best example provided by history of a limited war conducted effectively. I think that George HW Bush has never gotten the credit he deserves for pulling this off. After conducting the most efficient war in history, Bush was rejected by the voters because he raised taxes. It shows you where our priorities are.

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