Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians?

Overview

Intellectuals and the American Presidency examines the complex relationships between Presidents and America's intellectuals since 1960. From Arthur Schlesinger's work in John Kennedy's campaign and administration to Daniel Patrick Moynihan's role as the Democrat in the Nixon White House, through Sidney Blumenthal's efforts to secure intellectual support for a scandal-plagued Bill Clinton, every president since 1960 has had to address the question of intellectual support. Using both popular sources and some never ...
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Overview

Intellectuals and the American Presidency examines the complex relationships between Presidents and America's intellectuals since 1960. From Arthur Schlesinger's work in John Kennedy's campaign and administration to Daniel Patrick Moynihan's role as the Democrat in the Nixon White House, through Sidney Blumenthal's efforts to secure intellectual support for a scandal-plagued Bill Clinton, every president since 1960 has had to address the question of intellectual support. Using both popular sources and some never before used archived material, Intellectuals and the American Presidency looks at the advisers who served as liaisons to the academic community, the presidents' views of those intellectuals and how they fit in with the presidents' plans. In this bipartisan study, political insider Tevi Troy analyzes how American presidents have used intellectuals to shape their images and advance their agendas.
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Editorial Reviews

Jonah Goldberg
Tevi Troy has done the impossible! He's written an interesting and engaging analysis of the role of White House eggheads without resorting to excessive nudity or violence.
Wall Street Journal
Tevi Troy's engaging Intellectuals and the American Presidency chronicles, among much else, FDR's 'brain trust,' the academic sycophants of Kennedy's Camelot, and the thinkers who gave George W. Bush his 'compassionate conservativism' [and] raises questions as old as political philosophy itself: Where should our leaders look for wisdom? Whom should they seek to please?
Techcentralstation.Com
This is a very readable book for both those in and out of government as well as for those in and out of 'the business.' It is, at once, interesting personality description and previously untold history mixed with intriguing analysis.
— Seth Leibsohn
World
Tevi Troy's Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosphers, Jesters, or Technicians shows how we professors who advise politicians envision ourselves as philosophers but generally fall into the second or third camp.
The Washington Post
Intellectuals have been attaching themselves to the White House since the New Deal, and presidents have been attaching themselves to intellectuals, with results that have at times been amusing, at times infuriating, and even at times--though not many--mutally rewarding, yet apart from a handful of memoirs by egghead lapdogs the subject of this peculiar relationship has been widely ignored. Tevi Troy fills this void.
— Jonathan Yardley
The Washington Times
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is a lively tale and well told, and certainly not meant for academics only. . . . It's all here and much more as Mr. Troy describes the changing presidency, the intellectuals' role in presidential politics, and the ever mutating media. It's quite a ride.
The Public Interest
In fact, intellectuals are so important to the American presidency that U.S. presidents 'ignore the intellectuals at their peril.' This is the thesis of Tevi Troy's important and absorbing book Intellectuals and the American Presidency.
Jay Nordlinger
The strength of the book—apart from its arguments and learning—lies in its anecdotes, its telling and often delightful details.... Tevi Troy's subject is not the most important under the sun, but it is not trivial, either. There is no question that he has mastered it. His will be the book to consult on this score for years to come.
The New York Sun
Johathan Yardley
...Troy has gotten the necessary information down in proper order and made a fair amount of sense (or, when the situation calls for it, nonsense) out of it. He has done his research well and for the most part steers clear of partisanship.
The Washington Post
Library Journal
Academics and intellectuals have long bemoaned their lack of influence over governmental policy, but this book traces the significant role of intellectuals (loosely defined) in the process of presidential advising and policymaking since the era of John Kennedy. The deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor and former policy director for Sen. John Ashcroft, Troy believes it is essential for presidential candidates to align themselves with highly visible academics. This has led to the rise of the "professional intellectual" and the public use of these men and women for developing presidential proposals, giving intellectual heft to these ideas, and demonstrating that the candidate, and later president, is a person of gravitas. While the author overstates the influence of these intellectuals over the president, it is clear that the increased use, and sometimes misuse, of these figures from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Strobe Talbot has played an increasingly prominent role in presidential politics. This useful and interesting book highlights an important element in presidential politics and is recommended for those interested in the presidency and the history of ideas. Michael Genovese, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A policy advisor and sometimes bureaucrat for various Republicans, and an affiliate of the American Enterprise Institute, Troy explains how candidates for the US presidency have courted the support of intellectuals in order to make them look like men of vision and conviction. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The Public Interest
In fact, intellectuals are so important to the American presidency that U.S. presidents 'ignore the intellectuals at their peril.' This is the thesis of Tevi Troy's important and absorbing book Intellectuals and the American Presidency.
World
Tevi Troy's Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosphers, Jesters, or Technicians shows how we professors who advise politicians envision ourselves as philosophers but generally fall into the second or third camp.
The Washington Times
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is a lively tale and well told, and certainly not meant for academics only. . . . It's all here and much more as Mr. Troy describes the changing presidency, the intellectuals' role in presidential politics, and the ever mutating media. It's quite a ride.
The Washington Post
Intellectuals have been attaching themselves to the White House since the New Deal, and presidents have been attaching themselves to intellectuals, with results that have at times been amusing, at times infuriating, and even at times—though not many—mutally rewarding, yet apart from a handful of memoirs by egghead lapdogs the subject of this peculiar relationship has been widely ignored. Tevi Troy fills this void.
— Jonathan Yardley
Ben Wattenberg
Tevi Troy's Intellectuals and the American Presidency is original and readable—required reading for intellectuals, Presidents, and the rest of us.
Peter Beinart
As presidential politics grows more superficial, the general assumption is that intellectuals—people who deal in ideas—grow less relevant. Tevi Troy shows how wrong and lazy that assumption is. With striking clarity and in rich historical detail, he reveals that, for better and for worse, intellectuals are crucial to the success and survival of a modern president.
Jay Winik
The tale of presidents and intellectuals, sometimes awkward, sometimes cozy, invariably important, is too often ignored. Not so in Tevi Troy's illuminating and enlightening new study. A fitting read for the talking head era.
Michael Barone
Since the early 1960s, the administrations of each president have brought intellectuals into their folds, with a view toward using their ideas to come up with good public policy. The extent to which they have succeeded—or failed—at this is the subject of Tevi Troy's Intellectuals and the American Presidency, a book that bids fair to become the definitive work on the subject—and which will deliver to its readers some interesting surprises about the role of intellectuals in politics and public policy.
Precepts, (Claremont Institute) - Glenn Elmers
[Tevi Troy's] smart, engaging volume, Intellectuals and the American Presidency takes us from Franklin Roosevelt's Brain Trust through Kennedy's Camelot, to the present day to show the dangers as well as the virtues of professional thinkers in politics.
The Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley
Intellectuals have been attaching themselves to the White House since the New Deal, and presidents have been attaching themselves to intellectuals, with results that have at times been amusing, at times infuriating, and even at times—though not many—mutally rewarding, yet apart from a handful of memoirs by egghead lapdogs the subject of this peculiar relationship has been widely ignored. Tevi Troy fills this void.
Commentary - James Nuechterlein
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is an engaging, well-researched book.
Humane Studies Review - Colleen Shogan
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is not merely a history of the role of public intellectuals in the White House. Instead it describes the strategies presidents employ when they deal with the American intellectual community. Troy is able to argue convincingly that these strategic decisions about intellectuals have real consequences for the president's leadership and political authority.
Perspectives on Political Science - Frank Coppa
The book is well-researched and readable, perhaps the definitive work on the role of the intellectual in the success of the modern presidency. It belongs with the classics of Neustadt and Barber.
Claremont Review Of Books - John J. Pitney Jr.
A splendid antidote. . . . In this tightly written book, Tevi Troy shoes that the intellectual's place in the White House is usually a subordinate one. Presidents use professors for their own purposes, not the other way around. Aspiring White House aides should know about the services they could render, as well as the severe limitations of their role. They may find their own clues in Tevi Troy's excellent study.
Enterstageright.Com - Jackson Murphy
Tevi Troy's new book Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians? offers a readable and compelling account of the influence that intellectuals have had upon presidents.
Nationaljournal.com - Troy K. Schneider
Troy's book offers an engaging account of the often-overlooked role that intellectuals play in the White House—and a welcome reminder that a successful president needs more than just polls and political positioning.
Techcentralstation.Com - Seth Leibsohn
This is a very readable book for both those in and out of government as well as for those in and out of 'the business.' It is, at once, interesting personality description and previously untold history mixed with intriguing analysis.
Journal Of The Royal Musical Association - Shira Schoenberg
For the politically savvy, Troy's book is a valuable resource as a scholarly study colored with insightful analysis.
New York Sun - Jay Nordlinger
The strength of this book—apart from its arguements and learning—lies in its anecdotes, its telling and often delightful details. His will be the book to consult for years to come.
syndicated columnist and editor-at-large
Tevi Troy has done the impossible! He's written an interesting and engaging analysis of the role of White House eggheads without resorting to excessive nudity or violence.
Claremont Review Of Books - John J. Pitney
A splendid antidote. . . . In this tightly written book, Tevi Troy shoes that the intellectual's place in the White House is usually a subordinate one. Presidents use professors for their own purposes, not the other way around. Aspiring White House aides should know about the services they could render, as well as the severe limitations of their role. They may find their own clues in Tevi Troy's excellent study.
Humane Studies Review - Colleen J. Shogan
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is not merely a history of the role of public intellectuals in the White House. Instead it describes the strategies presidents employ when they deal with the American intellectual community. Troy is able to argue convincingly that these strategic decisions about intellectuals have real consequences for the president's leadership and political authority.
Commentary
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is an engaging, well-researched book.
— James Nuechterlein
Claremont Review Of Books
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is a wonderfully written insight into politics today. It reminds readers of the temptations of power and the dangers of political pandering that are endemic to government. It also has a postive message that no matter how slick or well-marketed, in the world of politics nothing is more powerful than men of action emboldened by real ideas and a dedication to principle.
Enterstageright.com
Tevi Troy's new book Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians? offers a readable and compelling account of the influence that intellectuals have had upon presidents.
— Jackson Murphy
Nationaljournal.com
Troy's book offers an engaging account of the often-overlooked role that intellectuals play in the White House—and a welcome reminder that a successful president needs more than just polls and political positioning.
— Troy K. Schneider
Jerusalem Post
For the politically savvy, Troy's book is a valuable resource as a scholarly study colored with insightful analysis.
— Shira Schoenberg
Political Studies Review
Troy's book is engagingly written, thoroughly researched, and well argued.
The Wall Street Journal
Tevi Troy's engaging Intellectuals and the American Presidency chronicles, among much else, FDR's 'brain trust,' the academic sycophants of Kennedy's Camelot, and the thinkers who gave George W. Bush his 'compassionate conservativism' [and] raises questions as old as political philosophy itself: Where should our leaders look for wisdom? Whom should they seek to please?
Humane Studies Review
Intellectuals and the American Presidency is not merely a history of the role of public intellectuals in the White House. Instead it describes the strategies presidents employ when they deal with the American intellectual community. Troy is able to argue convincingly that these strategic decisions about intellectuals have real consequences for the president's leadership and political authority.
— Colleen Shogan, George Mason University
Perspectives On Political Science
The book is well-researched and readable, perhaps the definitive work on the role of the intellectual in the success of the modern presidency. It belongs with the classics of Neustadt and Barber.
— Frank Coppa
Techcentralstation.com
This is a very readable book for both those in and out of government as well as for those in and out of 'the business.' It is, at once, interesting personality description and previously untold history mixed with intriguing analysis.
— Seth Leibsohn
New York Sun
The strength of this book—apart from its arguements and learning—lies in its anecdotes, its telling and often delightful details. His will be the book to consult for years to come.
— Jay Nordlinger
John J. DiIulio
In this witty and wise study, Tevi Troy tells how modern presidents have increasingly been surrounded, and at times hounded, by academics, writers, and other intellectuals. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 'brain trust' through John F. Kennedy's 'best and brightest' right down to the present, the White House has become a haven both for political operatives who specialize in winning votes and intellectual personalities who specialize in spinning ideas. Troy superbly profiles how presidents from Roosevelt to George W. Bush and their top political advisers have coped, co-opted, or crossed swords with intellectuals. For anyone with a serious interest in how we got where we are in American politics and the presidency, this book is must-reading.
Stephen Hess
Tevi Troy tells the delicious tale of how presidents exploit the ambition and insecurity of intellectuals—or ignore them at their peril. Highly recommended for thinkers who thirst to be on cable t.v.
Martin Anderson
Any man or woman who decides to run for President of the United States would be wise to read Intellectuals and the American Presidency. In his seminal work Tevi Troy identifies and explains the key to a successful presidency—and does so clearly and persuasively. As a Republican I hope Democrats do not read it—but if they do it will be good for our country.
Norm Ornstein
Tevi Troy has given us a fascinating slice of history, in a well-written, balanced, and meticulously researched package. Intellectuals and the American Presidency provides illumination about both the modern presidency and the role of ideas (and idea people) in American politics and policy.
Jack Valenti
Love them or hate them, intellectuals are players in American politics. Good politicians realize this, and act accordingly. Tevi Troy smartly chronicles the surprising successes and occasional humorous failures of presidents who courted America's elusive yet vocal intellectual establishment. This lively and readable study is must-reading for lovers of history and politics alike.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742508255
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Series: American Intellectual Culture Series
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Tevi Troy is the special assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary. He has also served as the deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor, the policy director for Senator John Ashcroft (R-Missouri), and the senior domestic policy adviser and later domestic policy director for the House Republican Policy Committee. He has written for numerous publications, including the New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Weekly Standard, Journal of Commerce, National Review, and Reason. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Kami, and children Ezra and Ruthie.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Intellectuals and the Modern Presidency Chapter 2 Arthur Schlesinger: Court Intellectual Chapter 3 Lyndon Johnson vs. the "Harvards" Chapter 4 Man the Barricades: Nixon and Moynihan Chapter 5 Bob Goldwin and the Ford Interlude Chapter 6 Jimmy Carter: Dancing to His Own Tune Chapter 7 Reagan and the Rise of the Conservative Intellectual Chapter 8 George Bush: Searching for the "Vision Thing" Chapter 9 Bill Clinton: At Home with the Intellectuals Chapter 10 Bush, Gore, and Beyond Chapter 11 Appendix: Guidebook for Presidents
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2001

    A True Work of Art! Delicious!

    Dr. Troy's work is a magnificent treatise that takes the art of presidential scholarship to a new level. He is the new Neustadt of our age.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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