[ebook Pdf] Presidents of War Author Michael R. Beschloss – PDF, Kindle ePUB & DOC


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Presidents of War

S discoveries 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. Intimate portraits how the Presidents of war fared during the war years their struggles both politically and emotionally and how the original vision of the founding fathers has eroded during modern timesAt the dawn of the American republic the framers of the constitution had a dream that war would be regarded as the last resort of their invented political system Unlike the European powers at that time where monarchs and dictators could declare war at will in the American Republic it would be declared only by the congress and not by the presidentThis book looks at various American presidents and how they took the Americans to war and mobilised their country for victory It shows how the original dream would already be eroded 60 years later by president Polk and how after World War II presidents stopped to ask congress to fulfil its constitutional mandate to declare war and how the House and Senate did not serieus rejectAs an European no doubt well less endowed with knowledge about American history as the average American it was really interesting to see how wars became presidential wars and how these presidents fared during these years How they struggled with the Congress the courts the press and their own advisors and how these presidents were able to withstand the pressures of war or were broken by themThis important book shows how far we have travelled 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

free read å eBook or Kindle ePUB ð Michael R. Beschloss

From a preeminent presidential historian comes a groundbreaking and often surprising narrative of America’s wartime chief executives It 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 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 sendi. Michael Beschloss spent a decade researching and writing this absorbing portrait of American Presidents taking the country into various wars and his commitment to the project shows in its high uality This is a very good book and as usual with Beschloss combines popular readability with vigorous research and extended informative footnotes Beschloss shows how over time the war making power of Congress has been usurped and now basically ignored by Presidents of both political parties This is in direct contradiction to what the Founding Fathers had written and how they intended this aspect of the separation of powers to work Beschloss begins with a chapter on a President who chose not to go to war Thomas Jefferson had the circumstances in 1807 to reuest that Congress declare war on Great Britain He had a golden opportunity when a British warship attacked the Chesapeake off the Virginia coast While Jefferson was tempted at times to escalate matters he chose not to do so But as Beschloss makes clear Jefferson s decision was at least partially based on the fact that he had starved the infant US Navy almost to death so it really was not in a position to realistically fight the British anyways While Beschloss is critical of Jefferson on several counts he admires the restraint shown here I believe that he included this chapter to show how a President can avoid conflict instead of seeking it or immediately escalating one that has been presented to himNext up is James Madison and the War of 1812 Despite being one of the Founders and being the expert on separation of powers because he helped to write the Constitution Madison allowed himself to get goaded by Henry Clay and others into seeking war with Great Britain This was a disastrous decision on Madison s part resulting in the destruction of the Executive Mansion and much of the nascent capital of Washington DC Madison himself barely escaped and fled into the Virginia countryside for a few days To his credit Madison did not try to further inflame events once they reached this dismal point Madison of all people should have known better than to bring the US into a war without a great deal of justification and one that it most likely would lose Next up is James Polk and Beschloss spares him no criticism as he scores him for repeatedly lying to Congress manufacturing a war with Mexico solely to gain territory and not explaining his actions to the American people Polk set a dangerous precedent for other Presidents to follow the expansion of Executive authority and the trampling over the prerogative of Congress when it comes to war making Of all the Presidents that Beschloss examines Polk might be the biggest offender And that is saying something especially considering that Lyndon Johnson ruined himself along with thousands of American soldiers in Vietnam But Polk was the first one to blatantly disregard Congress to treat it as subservient to his territory goals Polk created a false pretext for a war and then prosecuted it with gusto It was a needless and senseless war The territory gained should be returned to Mexico I know that will obviously never happen I am writing it rhetorically The two chapters on Lincoln s management and struggles during the Civil War are outstanding It made me wish that Beschloss would have written a book solely on that topic Beschloss shows how Lincoln in contrast with Polk was overly careful to explain his actions to the American people and to be up front with Congress about what he was doing But Lincoln did vastly expand his power to deal with the national emergency although he was very careful to repeatedly assert that his actions and powers were only temporary expedients in an effort to uell the rebellion of the Southern states Despite assuming great powers Lincoln knew that in times of peace he would not need or want those powers Lincoln of course was not perfect and his mistakes here are discussed as well but as in most aspects of his presidency Lincoln towers above pretty much everyone elseOf all of the segments I found the ones concerning the Spanish American War to be the least nuanced While the US manufactured a war with Spain once again mainly to gain territory William McKinley s decision to go to war didn t seem fully explained to me I did not uite understand at the end why McKinley went to war It seemed that he was initially reluctant to escalate the situation with Spain which was at the time premised on the explosion aboard and sinking of the USS Maine There were many loud voices agitating for war Theodore Roosevelt one of the most vociferous who seemed to goadpersuade McKinley into going to war But I did not think that Beschloss fully fleshed this out That doesn t mean these chapters were on the contrary they were uite good especially Beschloss peek into the life of Captain Charles Sigsbee Beschloss has numerous issues with Woodrow Wilson s handling of WWI and its aftermath Wilson despite being a historian and political scientist did a rotten job when it came to communicating his intentions his actions and his goals He campaigned pretty much falsely although technically accurately in 1916 on the slogan He Kept Us Out of War But he knew that could not last much longer and it did not Wilson gets his lowest marks though for his abuse and disregard of civil liberties Even Polk did not do that Wilson increasingly in ill health viewed dissenters as enemies and acted messianic Each book that I read about Wilson or that includes Wilson as part of the story even if the book is written by someone favorable to Wilson leaves me uestioning just why he is so highly regarded amongst US Presidents While there were some significant domestic achievements early in his administration I just do not see the high ratings as being justified Franklin Roosevelt gets balanced treatment here just like all of the Presidents that Beschloss discusses Beschloss does not come down on the side of some conspiracy theorists that think that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor in advance but he does allow that FDR most certainly knew there would be a Japanese attack somewhere FDR s leadership through WWII is mostly lauded but Beschloss rightly condemns him for the atrocious internment of American citizens of Japanese descent Almost eighty years later I find that act still deeply disturbing Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson while both accomplishing great things did not make for good war time Presidents Neither asked for nor even considering asking for a formal declaration of war in their respective administrations despite both taking the US into lengthy and costly wars Truman really had no good reason for not involving Congress and it came back to bite him driving him out of the White House at the end of his second term the 22nd Amendment did not apply to him While Truman never did make a good case to the American people as to why the US was in Korea Johnson flat out lied over and over again as escalated US involvement in Vietnam I think that with Johnson depending on what the subject matter is he s going to come out looking either really great or really horrible And since this book focuses on war it is the latter I really enjoyed this book Beschloss is such a smooth writer and gifted historian that I cannot imagine him writing anything that is not of the highest uality If I have any complaint about the book and it would be a small one it is that he did not examine Truman s ending of WWII especially the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan And he briefly skimmed over Richard Nixon s handling of Vietnam I understand why the premise of the book was about Presidents who led the US into wars not about wars that they inherited Still I think those are two areas that he could have included without subtracting anything from this excellent and worthwhile book Grade A

Michael R. Beschloss ð 3 characters

Ng 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 hi. Presidents of War The Epic Story from 1807 to Modern Times 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 uite 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 Ira 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 We must not be enemies Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched as securely they will be by the better angels of our nature Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Address March 1861 On an unusually warm day in Gettysburg the President wearing his black stovepipe hat climbed onto a horse and joined a funerary parade to the battlegroundThen he stepped forward to deliver from notes what would become the most famous address ever uttered by an American President in time of war and peaceFor his leadership while waging his world war and seeking a durable peace Wilson deserves credit for his intelligence elouence use of American history and genuine idealism about what has been called the contagion of liberty around the globe He managed to keep his country out of Europe for as long as he could Then he managed to persuade Congress to grant him a war declaration But privately as he started escalating the war Johnson was gloomily unable to convince himself it would ultimately lead to victory To this day it is difficult to understand how this bighearted man could have brought himself to send young Americans to risk their lives in conflict for which even at the start he privately seemed to have so little hope

  • Hardcover
  • 752
  • Presidents of War
  • Michael R. Beschloss
  • English
  • 10 October 2019
  • 9780307409607

About the Author: Michael R. Beschloss

Michael Beschloss is the author of nine books on presidential history including most recently the New York Times bestsellers Presidential Courage and The Conuerors as well as two volumes on Lyndon Johnson’s White House tapes He was also editor of the number one global bestseller Jacueline Kennedy Historic Conversations on Life with John F Kennedy He is the NBC News Presidential Historian



10 thoughts on “Presidents of War

  1. says:

    If I had been just a year or two older I might have been called to serve in the Vietnam War I think that’s one reason why I’m so interested in books and movies about the war I always come back to the same uestion If I had fought in the war would I have showed courage under fire? Like many people who have not served I have my

  2. says:

    ”At about 430 on Friday morning April 12 1861 a single mortar shell tore a thin streak through the blue black sky over Charleston Harbor then dropped onto Fort Sumter exploding into a burst of red and orange” With that one mortar shell So

  3. says:

    Michael Beschloss spent a decade researching and writing this absorbing portrait of American Presidents taking the country into various wars and his commitment to the project shows in its high uality This is a very good book and as u

  4. says:

    “While donning his sack coat Captain Charles D Sigsbee had found a ten month old letter from one of his wife Eliza’s friends which had gone unanswered On the ship’s tricolor stationary he started writing Eliza ‘My darling Wife’ to apologize and heard the USS Maine’s Marine bugler ‘Fifer’ Newton the popular third baseman for the ship’s baseball team play 'Taps' Sigsbee put down his fountain pen to listen Then at 940 just a

  5. says:

    Presidents of War The Epic Story from 1807 to Modern Times 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 uite apparent in the historical sweep and scope of the book This

  6. says:

    Excellent and especially relevant as it pertains to current international affairs Not surprised to learn that most of the presidents were lifelong avid readers—wish that was currently the case As Harry S Truman said “not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers”Appreciated the different perspectives from the biographies on Grant and Roosevelt I read earlier this year

  7. says:

    Michael Beschloss' Presidents of War is an extraordinary work so extraordinary that it should be reuired 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 fo

  8. says:

    Intimate portraits how the 'Presidents of war' fared during the war years their struggles both politically and emotionally and how the original vision of the founding fathers has eroded during modern timesAt the dawn of the American republic the framers of the constitution had a dream that war would be regarded as the l

  9. says:

    Beschloss has an ambitious goal with this book and he almost makes it An in depth account of each time a President took us to war and the one time a President didn't thanks Jefferson I say almost because Beschlo

  10. says:

    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 b

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