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Commander in Chief: How Truman, Johnson, and…
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Commander in Chief: How Truman, Johnson, and Bush Turned a Presidential…

by Geoffrey Perret

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Rather shocked by the inside panel, I started to read this book warily. I, however, was pleasantly surprised that it was more of a history than political attack and could easily pick out and gloss over the crude and sometimes outright random attacks at these presidents. While the president is the one person in this country with the most power, his power isn't exactly absolute. The fact that so many people went along with him shows that one shouldn't be too critical-if in the same situation one might be led to do the same thing. A more extreme example would be the research done after the Abu Grababh scandel-put in the right situation, perfectly normal and humane people will torture others. ( )
  smilekb17 | Jun 26, 2007 |
Great book, great writing. The author takes a look at America's major wars of occupation since WW II and presents a good case for why they were/are a bad idea. Sharp writing and good wit from the author - he's not afraid to let his own views show & for me the style was very engaging. He strengthens my opinion that Truman's reputation as a good president is undeserved(bull in china shop, as it were). The case that LBJ & Bush were/are bad won't be news to many, but still interesting to read. ( )
  jlbrownn23 | Feb 24, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374102171, Hardcover)

This is a story of ever-expanding presidential powers in an age of unwinnable wars. Harry Truman and Korea, Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, George W. Bush and Iraq: three presidents, three ever broader interpretations of the commander in chief clause of the Constitution, three unwinnable wars, and three presidential secrets. Award-winning presidential biographer and military historian Geoffrey Perret places these men and events in the larger context of the post-World War II world to establish their collective legacy: a presidency so powerful it undermines the checks and balances built into the Constitution, thereby creating a permanent threat to the Constitution itself.
 
In choosing to fight in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, Truman, Johnson, and Bush alike took counsel of their fears, ignored the advice of the professional military and major allies, and were influenced by facts kept from public view. Convinced that an ever-more powerful commander in chief was the key to victory, they misread the moment. Since World War II wars have become tests of stamina rather than strength, and more likely than not they sow the seeds of future wars. Yet recent American presidents have chosen to place their country in the forefront of fighting them. In the course of doing so, however, they gave away the secret of American power—for all its might, the United States can be defeated by chaos and anarchy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

This is a story of ever-expanding presidential powers in an age of unwinnable wars. Harry Truman and Korea, Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, George W. Bush and Iraq: three presidents, three ever broader interpretations of the commander-in-chief clause of the Constitution, three unwinnable wars, and three presidential secrets. Presidential biographer and military historian Perret places these men and events in the larger context of the post-World War II world to establish their collective legacy: a presidency so powerful it undermines the checks and balances built into the Constitution, thereby creating a permanent threat to the Constitution itself. Since World War II wars have become tests of stamina rather than strength, and more likely than not they sow the seeds of future wars--yet recent American presidents have chosen to place their country in the forefront of fighting them.--From publisher description.… (more)

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