Running Alone: Presidential Leadership--JFK to Bush II - Why It Has Failed and How We Can Fix It by James MacGregor Burns, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Running Alone: Presidential Leadership--JFK to Bush II - Why It Has Failed and How We Can Fix It

Running Alone: Presidential Leadership--JFK to Bush II - Why It Has Failed and How We Can Fix It

by James MacGregor Burns
     
 

A disastrous war in Iraq, prisoner abuse, secret wiretaps--the presidency of George W. Bush represents a crisis in American democracy. How did this happen? In Running Alone the revered political scientist and commentator James MacGregor Burns sets the imperial presidency of George W. Bush in the context of half a century of presidential politics. In his 1960

Overview

A disastrous war in Iraq, prisoner abuse, secret wiretaps--the presidency of George W. Bush represents a crisis in American democracy. How did this happen? In Running Alone the revered political scientist and commentator James MacGregor Burns sets the imperial presidency of George W. Bush in the context of half a century of presidential politics. In his 1960 campaign, John F. Kennedy turned his back on the Democratic Party. He relied instead on his personal charisma and his family's vast wealth to win office. Once elected, he governed much as he had run: alone. He ignored the Democratic platform and instead sought counsel from a small group of hand-picked advisors, including his own brother. Kennedy fundamentally reshaped the role of President, and each of his successors has built on this model. American presidents have become increasingly isolated from the parties that brought them to power. Democratic presidents--Johnson, Carter, and Clinton--did tremendous damage to the Democratic Party by abandoning its core principles. Republican presidents have managed to lead more effectively in isolation, but have imperiled the nation in the process. Drawing on his own personal letters, interviews, and recollections of America's presidents, Burns charts the decline of genuine leadership in the Oval Office and offers a stirring vision of what the presidency can and should be. America deserves better leaders, and with unsurpassed knowledge of American history and politics, Burns shows us the way forward.

Editorial Reviews

Jon Meacham
In his impressive new Running Alone, Burns traces the origins of the collapse of broad party politics back to the rise of Camelot, which he sees as a court that was too focused on its king and not enough on the knights in Congress, in the states and in the neighborhoods who could help the monarch convince the realm of the wisdom of his program. The Kennedy drive -- JFK's appetites, curiosity, charisma and charm -- is the stuff of great biography, but in this book Burns is more concerned with the story of a nation than with the story of any one individual. And the stories of democratic nations, he argues, are determined by a leader's capacity to mobilize large numbers of people -- not only to elect the leader to office but to enable the work of government to begin when the work of electioneering leaves off.
— The Washington Post
Library Journal
Burns (government, emeritus, Williams Coll.; Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom) has received numerous awards e.g., the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his writings on FDR. It's clear that he brings astute analysis and bold prescriptions to his study of American politics and especially the presidency. Here he argues that what our national system needs is transformative leadership. FDR is his model of an aggressive, engaging, and enlightening leader. The President, Burns argues, is the vital center of American politics, but he should not campaign alone or try to govern alone, removed from the people and divorced from the political party system. Burns's proposals to restore both the American presidency and citizen-based politics are bold: abolish the Electoral College, repeal the 22d Amendment, and restructure the terms of office for the Senate and the House of Representatives. Most of all, however, Burns wants to enliven American democracy and the potential for moral, dynamic leadership from the Oval Office by means of an appeal to citizen-activists to enter the public arena and help save American politics from the professionals, pollsters, and pundits. This timely work is a positive addition to Burns's influential output on leadership and should be read by any student of U.S. politics and the presidency. It belongs in all libraries. Stephen K. Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Univ., Nampa, ID Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465008322
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

One of America’s most astute political thinkers, James MacGregor Burns is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government Emeritus at Williams College. He is the author of many books on American history and politics, including Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox and Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award), and Leadership, still considered the seminal work in the field of leadership studies. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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