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

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  82 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
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 i
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Hardcover, 752 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Crown
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Lorna
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 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 ...more
Joseph Sciuto
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Argum
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Dave Schoettinger
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
CDB81
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Debra Jeakins
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Paul Manoguerra
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.”
Seth
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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*
Steve
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Robin Case
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Slightly different take on USA and it's Presidents at War. While I did pick up on new aspects to historical events i wasn't too impressed with the organization of the material. Facts good, story telling mediocre, ambitious aspirations ultimately unfilled.
Sophia Nikolayev
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
dope
Karen Roth
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
In depth time that brings to like and humanism these war Presidents back to the beginning of this great Republic.
Jim Ogle
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an exceptional book by an exceptional historian.
J.T.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Never read any Beschloss before, but after this it is safe to say I will.
Ron Turner
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very thought provoking read
Csimplot Simplot
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!!!
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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 ...more
“On Sunday, November 10, Kaiser Wilhelm II was dethroned, and he fled to Holland for his life. Britain’s King George V, who was his cousin, told his diary that Wilhelm was “the greatest criminal known for having plunged the world into this ghastly war,” having “utterly ruined his country and himself.” Keeping vigil at the White House, the President and First Lady learned by telephone, at three o’clock that morning, that the Germans had signed an armistice. As Edith later recalled, “We stood mute—unable to grasp the significance of the words.” From Paris, Colonel House, who had bargained for the armistice as Wilson’s envoy, wired the President, “Autocracy is dead. Long live democracy and its immortal leader. In this great hour my heart goes out to you in pride, admiration and love.” At 1:00 p.m., wearing a cutaway and gray trousers, Wilson faced a Joint Session of Congress, where he read out Germany’s surrender terms. He told the members that “this tragical war, whose consuming flames swept from one nation to another until all the world was on fire, is at an end,” and “it was the privilege of our own people to enter it at its most critical juncture.” He added that the war’s object, “upon which all free men had set their hearts,” had been achieved “with a sweeping completeness which even now we do not realize,” and Germany’s “illicit ambitions engulfed in black disaster.” This time, Senator La Follette clapped. Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Lodge complained that Wilson should have held out for unconditional German surrender. Driven down Capitol Hill, Wilson was cheered by joyous crowds on the streets. Eleanor Roosevelt recorded that Washington “went completely mad” as “bells rang, whistles blew, and people went up and down the streets throwing confetti.” Including those who had perished in theaters of conflict from influenza and other diseases, the nation’s nineteen-month intervention in the world war had levied a military death toll of more than 116,000 Americans, out of a total perhaps exceeding 8 million. There were rumors that Wilson planned to sail for France and horse-trade at the peace conference himself. No previous President had left the Americas during his term of office. The Boston Herald called this tradition “unwritten law.” Senator Key Pittman, Democrat from Nevada, told reporters that Wilson should go to Paris “because there is no man who is qualified to represent him.” The Knickerbocker Press of Albany, New York, was disturbed by the “evident desire of the President’s adulators to make this war his personal property.” The Free Press of Burlington, Vermont, said that Wilson’s presence in Paris would “not be seemly,” especially if the talks degenerated into “bitter controversies.” The Chattanooga Times called on Wilson to stay home, “where he could keep his own hand on the pulse of his own people” and “translate their wishes” into action by wireless and cable to his bargainers in Paris.” 0 likes
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