The Buck Stops Here: The 28 Toughest Presidential Decisions and How They Changed Historyby Thomas J. Craughwell
The Buck Stops Here consists of twenty-eight engrossing accounts of the most important United States presidential decisions in history. They range from the abolition of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation to the acquisition of vast new territory with the Louisiana Purchase to the establishment of enduring institutions such as Medicare and/i>
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The Buck Stops Here consists of twenty-eight engrossing accounts of the most important United States presidential decisions in history. They range from the abolition of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation to the acquisition of vast new territory with the Louisiana Purchase to the establishment of enduring institutions such as Medicare and America’s national parks. These decisions encompass, too, such less-well-known measures as the G.I. Bill of Rights, which cleared the way for more than two million veterans to receive a college education, as well as acts that reverberated worldwide, including Theodore Roosevelt’s construction of the Panama Canal, Harry S Truman’s deployment of the atom bomb, Richard Nixon’s visit to China, and John F. Kennedy’s pledge to put a man on the moon.
Thomas J. Craughwell and Edwin Kiester Jr.’s fascinating survey of twenty-eight crucial presidential decisions opens a door into the White House’s corridors of power, giving readers an insider’s view of how and why these decisions were made, while providing a yardstick with which we might, perhaps, gauge the success of current and future presidents.
Each chapter places the reader squarely in the historical period while presenting the issues at stake, the interests at work, and the obstacles encountered. This book takes the reader into the minds of some of American history’s greatest leaders and analyzes the enduring, often far-reaching, sometimes unforeseen consequences of these presidential decisions—in their own time, and right up to the present day.
Some of these decisions were simply expedient; others required the courage of conviction in the face of intense opposition. Some were motivated by political loyalties, but many were evidently inspired by noble visions of a better nation, a fairer world. All were momentous, and helped define who we are and how we live now.
“As this book makes clear, many of the most fascinating turning points in American history were also presidential ones. Thomas J. Craughwell and Edwin Kiester Jr. show us the complex link between personal choice and historical contingency, charting a narrative of White House hardball that reminds us how much we have invested in those who become chief executive. These are tales of power, American-style.” —Cormac O’Brien, author of Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents and The Forgotten History of America
An engaging journey through the actions of 17 presidents who, for the most part, pushed the country towards progress, The Buck Stops Here also reveals the elasticity of presidential power over the last 200 years. While not every decision was grave or monumental, these presidential actions are shown to have had a lasting impact on American culture. Theodore Roosevelt’s dinner invitation to Booker T. Washington, for instance, not only pitted Southern Democrats against the more progressive Republicans of the time, but helped push the issue of race to the forefront of the American debate. - Publisher's Weekly Web Exclusive, August 2010
“Thomas J. Craughwell has given us a richly detailed, highly entertaining, and broad slice of our history.” —The American Spectator on Stealing Lincoln’s Body by Thomas J. Craughwell
“There is no end of fascinating context and detail in this engrossing, often zany, yet poignant tale.” —
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Meet the Author
Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of more than a dozen books, including Failures of the Presidents, Stealing Lincoln’s Body, and most recently, The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History. He has written articles on history, religion, politics, and popular culture for the Wall Street Journal, the American Spectator, and U.S. News & World Report. He lives in Bethel, Connecticut.
Edwin Kiester Jr. has written more than 2,000 magazine articles and twelve books on subjects ranging from science to history. His most recent books are Before They Changed the World, An Incomplete History of World War I, and An Incomplete History of World War II. He lives in Essex, Massachusetts.
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