Presidency A to Z

Presidency A to Z

by Gerhard Peters, John T. Wooley, Michael Nelson

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
At over 700 pages and also available online, this core title, published since 1992, follows in the venerable tradition of its predecessors, providing a comprehensive encyclopedic treatment of the U.S. presidency. Updated to reflect the Obama administration, it contains over 300 entries addressing all aspects of the executive branch. Thus, it is essentially a revision of the previous 2007 edition with material added to refresh the contents, including new biographies, reexamination of previous topics, and discussion of supervening developments related to particular issues (e.g., relations with Congress). It is an ideal quick reference source, especially when read in tandem with the publisher's two-volume Guide to the U.S. Presidency and the Executive Branch (5th ed., 2010), which it complements. Encyclopedia of the American Presidency (Facts on File, 2012) is a lower-priced comparable alternative. VERDICT A recommended purchase for all libraries and a required one for those with earlier editions, which it supplants. Libraries should consider the electronic version, available separately or along with the print, or as part of an online package.—David Ettinger, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC
With a presidential election looming, anyone interested in the history of the office will find this updated, quick-find reference an invaluable tool. Although part of a five-volume American government series, American Government A to Z, it is definitely relevant as a stand-alone resource. Alphabetically arranged topics can also be accessed by the title bar atop each page to locate information or via the extensive index for a more detailed search. Articles, particularly those on the presidents, are detailed and summarize their political careers and milestones of their presidency. The prTcis of President Clinton notes his inability to lift the ban on gays in the military and his accomplishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement. It also acknowledges his "inappropriate relationship" with Monica Lewinsky and his weathering of the political proceedings of impeachment. Hillary Rodham Clinton is referenced through her husband, but there is ample coverage of her health care proposals, Whitewater investigation, and entrance into the 2008 presidential campaign. Subsidiary entries are more brief but convey the essentials. "Teapot Dome Scandal" relates that Warren Harding's Secretary of the Interior entered into corrupt agreements for oil reserves and how the subsequent investigation likely precipitated Harding's untimely death. A clever cartoon showing the "teapot" dome of the government exploding and all the politicians on the run captures the political climate. Although scholarly in tone, the book is definitely not pedantic. Humorous black-and-white cartoons and interesting photos, some candid-President Nixon and wife Pat visiting the Great Wall of China-pepper the pages. Manyquotations, such as Ronald Reagan's, "I sleep with a veto pen under my pillow," inserts, and sidebars are printed in bold and add interest and eye appeal. Following the last entry (Zapruder Film) and preceding the bibliography, there are forty-six pages of additional reference materials that include a time line of presidents and vice presidents, a summary of presidential elections, a U.S. government organization chart, the Constitution of the United States, and useful Internet search engines for more study. This reference is current to the developments in Iraq and the aftermath of Katrina. Reviewer: Barbara Johnson

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Congressional Quarterly, Inc.
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7.60(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

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