The Pentagon and the Presidency: Civil-Military Relations from FDR to George W. Bush

Overview

While presidents have always kept a watchful eye on the military, our generals have been equally vigilant in assessing the commander-in-chief. Their views, however, have been relatively neglected in the literature on civil-military relations. By taking us inside the military's mind in this matter, Dale Herspring's book provides a path-breaking, utterly candid, and much-needed reassessment of a key relationship in American government and foreign policymaking.

As Herspring reminds...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $29.81   
  • Used (5) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

While presidents have always kept a watchful eye on the military, our generals have been equally vigilant in assessing the commander-in-chief. Their views, however, have been relatively neglected in the literature on civil-military relations. By taking us inside the military's mind in this matter, Dale Herspring's book provides a path-breaking, utterly candid, and much-needed reassessment of a key relationship in American government and foreign policymaking.

As Herspring reminds us, that relationship has often been a very tense, even extremely antagonistic one, partly because the military has become a highly organized and very effective bureaucratic interest group. Reevaluating twelve presidents-from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush-Herspring shows how the intensity of that conflict depends largely on the military's perception of the president's leadership style. Quite simply, presidents who show genuine respect for military culture are much more likely to develop effective relations with the military than those who don't.

Each chapter focuses on one president and his key administrators-such as Robert McNamara, Henry Kissinger, and Donald Rumsfeld-and contains case studies showing how the military reacted to the president's leadership. In the final chapter, Herspring ranks the presidents according to their degree of conflict with the military: Lyndon Johnson received exceedingly low marks for being overbearing and dismissive of the armed forces, further aggravating his Vietnam problem. George H. W. Bush inspired respect for not micromanaging military affairs. And Bill Clinton was savaged both privately and publicly by military leaders for having been a "draft dodger," cutting Pentagon spending, and giving the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" tag an unnecessarily high profile.

From World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Herspring clearly shows how the nature of civilian control has changed during the past half century. He also reveals how the military has become a powerful bureaucratic interest group very much like others in Washington--increasingly politicized, media-savvy, and as much accountable to Congress as to the commander-in-chief.

Ultimately, The Pentagon and the Presidency illuminates how our leaders devise strategies for dealing with threats to our national security-and how the success of that process depends so much upon who's in charge and how that person's perceived by our military commanders.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Herspring has a proposition about civil-military relations: he thinks the military should be viewed as just another of the U.S. government's many interest groups, bound at times to conflict with civilians, and that presidents and secretaries of defense who are sympathetic to military culture can manage this conflict more effectively than those who are not. This is not a startling new insight, but at least, Herspring would argue, it captures the reality better than some of the more well-known theories of civil-military relations. And in order to make his case, he has produced a fine, and extremely useful, summary of civil-military relations since Franklin Roosevelt. Herspring recognizes that it is, in the end, up to the military to adjust to the president rather than the other way around, and he worries about the conservative trend in military culture. Yet he shares the military's frustration with Bill Clinton's chaotic decision making and Donald Rumsfeld's brutal disregard for its opinions, in contrast to George H.W. Bush's more collegial approach.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700614912
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Series: Modern War Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 506
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

1. The Military, the President, and Civil-Military Relations

2. The Military and Franklin Roosevelt

3. The Military and Harry Truman

4. The Military and Dwight Eisenhower

5. The Military and John F. Kennedy

6. The Military and Lyndon Johnson

7. The Military and Richard Nixon

8. The Military and Gerald Ford

9. The Military and Jimmy Carter

10. The Military and Ronald Reagan

11. The Military and George Bush

12. The Military and William Clinton

13. The Military and George W. Bush

14. Conclusion

Notes

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)