Dr. James David Barber's well-known, provocative examination of who has the potential to be voted into the highest office in the land and why is being reissued as the newest addition to the Longman Classics in Political Science series.
Arguing that patterns in a person's character, world view, and style can allow us to anticipate their performance as president, The Presidential Character offers explanations and predictions of the performance of presidents and presidential candidates. Drawing on historical, biographical, and psychological research, Dr. Barber hoped to help voters make judicious choices in determining the country's highest leaders. Revisiting this classic work in today's important presidential election season begs a reconsideration of Barber's probing and enduring query, "What'should we look for in a President?"
About the Author
James David Barber was a Duke University political scientist and provocateur best known for exploring the psychology of Oval Office aspirants and occupants. He spent years as a consultant to "NBC Nightly News" and as a board member of the Poynter Institute, a center for the study of journalism and media ethics in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Table of Contents
Foreword by George C. Edwards, III, Texas A&M University I. PREDICTING PRESIDENTS. 1. Presidential Character and How to Foresee It. II. THE CONTRADICTIONS OF POWER. 2. Three Tragic Tales. 3. The Active-Negative Presidents. 4. The Origins of Presidential Compulsion. 5. Richard Nixon: Winning Tragedy. III. OF LOVE AND POLITICAL DUTY 6. The Passive-Negative Presidents. 7. The Passive-Positive Presidents. 8. Reagan Wrecks Reality. IV. CONGRUENCE IN CHARACTER. 9. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Active-Positive Affection. 10 Harry S. Truman and Active-Positive Combat. 11. John F. Kennedy and Active-Positive Commitment. 12. The Crucial Ford Transition. V. BEYOND CHARACTER. 13. President Carter and Negotiation. 14. President Bush and Worldview. VI. THE THEORY OF PRESIDENTIAL CHARACTER. 15. Adding It Up.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I remembered being part of a college political science class that discussed Barber's analysis, and later on I hunted down this book to find more information on what he wrote. I've found the book useful in establishing political traits not only in the past Presidents but also in the current primary campaigners for the 2016 elective cycle. Barber's work may not be the only method of psychoanalyzing the Presidents but I've found it to be a concise and consistently accurate one. The only complaint about this work is that Barber only delves into 20th Century Presidents, leaving scant analysis of the first four - Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison - as a basis. And it ends with George WH Bush's tenure, missing Clinton, Dubya and Obama. But that's minor stuff: the in-depth analysis of the likes of Nixon, Reagan, and FDR more than cover a lot of what we need to know about Presidential styles and decision making.