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Free download Presidents of War review Ê Presidents of War â PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook characters ç PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ Michael R. Beschloss From a preeminent presidential historian comes a groundbreaking and often surprising narrative of America’s wartime chief executives It sometimes seems in retrospect as if America has been almost continuously at war Ten years in the research and writing Presidents of War is a fresh magisterial intimate look at a procession of American leaders as they took the nation into conflict and mobilized their country for victory It brings us into the room as they make the most difficult decisions that face any President at times sendi At about 430 on Friday morning April 12 1861 a single mortar shell tore a thin streak through the blue black sky over Charleston Harbor then dropped onto Fort Sumter exploding into a burst of red and orange With that one mortar shell South Carolina touched off a conflict that would claim the lives of approximately 618222 soldiers The greatest toll of lives by far of any war fought by America There were two very different perspectives of the prospect of this war The South was excited and hell bent on licking those yellow bellied Yankees The North was still in denial that they were even in a war They were mystified as to why their Southern cousins were so intent on trying to kill them A combination of brainwashing poor education and a clinging to a way of life that was unsustainable insured that thousands of people were about to die for reasons that frankly defied logic and for most of the participants was a constant source of confusion Why are we dyingPresident Abraham Lincoln clothed in immense power I love that scene from the Steven Spielberg movie Lincoln changed the scope of the executive branch of government and greatly extended the powers of that branch that would have far reaching influences on American politics The theme of Michael Beschloss s book is an exploration of the sometimes hidden reasons behind the wars that have been started by American presidents although in the case of Lincoln just getting elected president was the spark that led to war and the actions and reactions of those presidents that led America into its many conflicts He starts with the forgotten conflict the War of 1812 Few remember that The Star Spangled Banner was written at the bombing of Fort McHenry during this war President James Madison was completely unprepared to fight this conflict The US had no ships no standing army to speak of and no funds with which to take on the greatest army and navy in the world The uarrel began over the British impressment of sailors off US ships There are a few bright spots in this conflict Dolley Madison saving the portrait of George Washington from a burning White House the failure of the US to invade and conuer Canada good for you Canada a few sea battles that the US bafflingly managed to win and of course Andrew Jackson s dramatic victory at New Orleans Interestingly enough the greatest military victory by Old Hickory came after the war had officially been concluded Needless to say communication was a slower process than the instantaneous communications available today Dolley MadisonOne of the humorous moments in the book was when the British soldiers were looting the White House and were playing dress up with the Madison s abandoned wardrobe They made ribald jokes about Dolley s voluptuous derriere and breasts This caught me completely unawares and I laughed because I had never really thought about Dolley s physical conformity Many years later she was described at public events as a striking and handsome woman She was a brilliant marketer of her husband s legacy so astute about so many things and obviously curvaceous as well James K Polk was hell bent for warPresident James K Polk used a pretense of invasion by Mexico to start the Mexican American War The intent was to establish the boundary of Texas on the Rio Grande not the Nueces River and in the process also acuire what is now New Mexico Arizona Utah Nevada parts of Colorado and Wyoming but most importantly obtain the jewel of the WestCalifornia This was a huge extension of the power of the Presidency He couldn t outright say I want this land from Mexico Polk had to fabricate an injustice to bolster support for this endeavor I may not agree with the way this section of North America became part of the United States but I am very fond of those states and certainly appreciate their inclusion in the union I can rail against Polk for overreaching his presidential powers to add territory but at the same time I admit I m glad he did The Spanish American War was one of those situations that America found itself in freuently where we are supporting the rebels against a foreign power in this case Cuban rebels against Spain When the USS Maine exploded in Havana s harbor President William McKinley had his pretense to declare war openly on Spain The official reasons for the war were one thing but the hidden agenda or the mission creep as it was referred to was to add several islands such as Puerto Rico Guam Philippines Hawaii and even Cuba as territorial gains President Woodrow Wilson campaigned on the idea that he would keep America out of the war in Europe That was a big fat juicy lie but he did in my opinion and in the astute opinions of revered historians prove to be a good wartime president Poor Theodore Roosevelt was green with envy that Wilson had such a dust up happen while president He freuently called Wilson yellow because he was dragging his feet about entering the war Frankly I think if Wilson had been a vigorous man he should have busted TR in the snout The sinking of the Lusitania and the Zimmerman Telegram are freuently used as pretenses for America entering the war but really the truth of the matter is we wanted and needed to get in that war With the bombing of Pearl Harbor there was the theme of sinking ships and America s entry into war and President Franklin D Roosevelt was handed exactly what he needed to go to the aid of Europe against the German Aggression of WW2 Again isolationism proved to be impossible The world by this time had continued to shrink and the moats surrounding the United States were not wide or deep enough to keep the war in Europe and Asia from reaching her shores The frying pan that President Truman the State Department and the Pentagon found themselves in after firing General MacArthurThe Korean War became a wintery bog for President Harry Truman Another time when a President expanded his authority to be able to fight a war not officially sanctioned by congress His epic battles with General Douglas MacArthur are actually fascinating and a case study for why we have civilian control of the military I actually respect several of the accomplishments of MacArthur particularly his governing of Japan after the war so I m always a bit wistful about the way his career ended A similar scene was later played out between President Barack Obama and General Stanley McChrystalThe Korean War was a preview of a much destructive and long lasting conflict in Vietnam There was so much desperation of purpose surrounding this conflict President Lyndon Johnson beset by doubts crippled by fear if he does something and eually apprehensive if he does not was a president not the first fighting a war for the wrong reasons The conflict was designated a policing action which gave Johnson and later Richard Tricky Dick Nixon power to wage a major war through the executive branch of government Vietnam is a uagmire for any review or discussion so I will not venture in but I will say Beschloss did a great job putting the reader in the mind of LBJ Lyndon Johnson s appendix scar becomes VietnamBeschloss covered the wars in Afghanistan and Ira briefly in the epilogue The subject he took on is a broad subject I m sure he had to leave a lot of great observations on the cutting room floor to even keep the book to 586 pages It does make me wonder if he intends to write about Afghanistan and Ira in a future book The pretenses for fighting those wars were not only disturbing but built on a cascade of the worst lies ever sold to the American public This book is a terrific overview for amateur historians who may have little knowledge of the various conflicts The book also provides a potential opportunity for a cohesion of thought for the astute historian about the real reasons behind these conflicts and how they were presented to the American public I found my knowledge of American wars to be deepened and also my awareness of the way we continue to be manipulated by politicians into conflicts that would be best resolved in ways other than through the blood of our children and the treasure of our future clarified If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visithttpwwwjeffreykeetencomI also have a Facebook blogger page at

Free download Presidents of War

Presidents of War

Free download Presidents of War review Ê Presidents of War â PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook characters ç PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ Michael R. Beschloss S discoveries in original letters diaries once classified national security documents and other sources help him to tell this story in a way it has not been told before Presidents of War combines the sense of being there with the overarching context of two centuries of American history This important book shows how far we have traveled from the time of our Founders who tried to constrain presidential power to our modern day when a single leader has the potential to launch nuclear weapons that can destroy much of the human race Beschloss has an ambitious goal with this book and he almost makes it An in depth account of each time a President took us to war and the one time a President didn t thanks Jefferson I say almost because Beschloss largely focuses on the President at the time the war started but not always He gives short shrift to those that come later I m specifically thinking of Truman with World War II and Nixon and Ford with the Vietnam war Now I know Beschloss has a whole other book on FDR and Truman so I ll give that a pass With the other two I suspect he figured his book was already long enoughThat minor uibble aside this was a great book I ve been reading a lot of political biographies lately and this one is a strong read I daresay a must read for any foolish enough to think war has ever been a good idea or should ever be plan A The bulk of the wars started the same We got angry we were cocky we ignored diplomacy in favor of uick and easy political points after initial success we got bogged down in a disaster and everyone ultimately regretted getting involved The only two to buck this trend were Civil War and WWII although I maintain that the Civil War still fits it s just that it was the Confederacy that made the big mistake Every other war was a mess and ultimately damaged the prestige of all involved Soyeah the big lesson If you break it you bought it America I should say we haven t uite learned this lesson By wikipedia s tally America is currently in seven wars SEVEN uick name all places we re at war Could you do it liar

characters ç PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ Michael R. Beschloss

Free download Presidents of War review Ê Presidents of War â PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook characters ç PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ Michael R. Beschloss Ng hundreds of thousands of American men and women to their deaths From James Madison and the War of 1812 to recent times we see them struggling with Congress the courts the press their own advisors and antiwar protesters; seeking comfort from their spouses families and friends; and dropping to their knees in prayer We come to understand how these Presidents were able to withstand the pressures of war both physically and emotionally or were broken by them Beschloss’s interviews with surviving participants in the drama and hi While donning his sack coat Captain Charles D Sigsbee had found a ten month old letter from one of his wife Eliza s friends which had gone unanswered On the ship s tricolor stationary he started writing Eliza My darling Wife to apologize and heard the USS Maine s Marine bugler Fifer Newton the popular third baseman for the ship s baseball team play Taps Sigsbee put down his fountain pen to listen Then at 940 just as he slipped his completed letter Lovingly CDS into an envelope he heard the horrific boomSigsbee found it a bursting rending and crashing sound or roar of tremendous volumefollowed by a succession of heavy ominous metallic sounds probably caused by the overturning of the central superstructure and by falling debris After that came intense blackness and smoke Rejecting his impulse to crawl through an air vent Sigsbee took the dignified way of making an exit through the passageway leading forward through the superstructure In the darkness an orderly Private William Anthony bumped into him hard Rather than run for his life Anthony saluted formally apprised the captain that the Maine had been blown up and was sinking and made himself useful Michael Beschloss President of War describing the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor February 15 1898For an American president waging war at the head of a representative democracy presents a series of near insoluble challenges It is difficult on a normal day for the president to walk the line between national necessity and political expediency Having to maintain that balance during a war is like juggling on a tightrope during a hurricane It is not enough to simply make the hard military decisions expending lives and wealth in pursuit of some goal Instead the president must do these things while maintaining popular support in a country where the next election is always only two years away That s a tall order Ask Lincoln attacked as a tyrant as he attempted to save the political system of what he called the last best hope of earth Ask Lyndon Johnson whose obsession with Vietnam led him to micromanage bombing missions hoping to find the light at the end of the tunnel Even Franklin Roosevelt presiding over the largest conflict in history one that is almost universally acknowledged as absolutely necessary never received unanimous support Michael Beschloss captures the plight of the wartime president in Presidents of War a comprehensive narrative history stretching from James Madison s mishandling of the War of 1812 to the slow motion disaster of Vietnam This is a big book with a big subject and weighs in at a solid 586 pages of text Even so Beschloss has put a number of parameters on his study First and foremost he does not cover the endless Indian Wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries This means that Washington s unfortunate decision to send Arthur St Clair against the Shawnee and Miamis is not explored nor is Grant s well intentioned but failed Peace Policy for the Plains Tribes Second when a war is split between administrations Beschloss tends to focus on the man presiding when the guns first started firing Thus FDR is covered during World War II but Truman and his decision to drop the Bomb is mostly elided Later Truman is critiued during Korea but Eisenhower s role in wrapping things up is mostly ignored Finally though this book s subtitle promises the Epic Story from 1807 to Modern Times the phrase Modern Times is used rather loosely Aside from the briefest of epilogues the storyline ends with the fall of South Vietnam in 1975 I ll touch on this a bit below Given that each of the presidents and wars covered here has been the subject of dozens or hundreds or thousands of books Beschloss greatest achievement is in distilling events in an entertaining and educational fashion It is a feat not unlike a person attempting to swallow an entire t bone steak in a single bite The framework of Presidents of War is simple and functional Typically when dealing with a president and his war Beschloss structures each section in a similar fashion set piece summary and conclusion The interstitial periods between wars is skipped entirely meaning that each new war begins without much context Vietnam for example was an issue for Truman and Eisenhower and Kennedy before it fell in LBJ s lap That is not covered here The set piece typically covers the opening event of each particular war narrated in dramatic fashion For instance the segment on the Civil War begins with Fort Sumter while a brisk retelling of Pearl Harbor opens World War II Not every war begins in such obvious fashion of course The big scene in Beschloss account of the War of 1812 actually takes place in 1807 with the lopsided duel between the HMS Leopard and the USS Chesapeake which proves a useful case study in the impressing of American sailors by the British navy One of the things you learn by reading about the Thornton Affair the Mexican American War the sinking of the Maine the Spanish American War and the Gulf of Tonkin the Vietnam War is that America has girded herself for battle on some extremely flimsy pretexts What seems a legitimate casus belli in the moment is revealed in the fullness of time to be something less The Maine for example was likely the victim of a coal bunker explosion rather than an attack by Spanish commandos The second attack on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin was probably not an attack at all just confused US ships chasing false radar returns Presidents of War presents mostly without editorial comment a fairly egregious list of executive decisions After setting the scene Beschloss then provides an overarching view of the president s actions during the war While smoothly written and packed with detail including a lot of unnecessary footnotes for those who like collecting trivia I found that some of these chapters lacked inner cohesion With some presidents the focus is mainly on the decision to go to war with others it is the prosecution of the war There is a rather serious look at Lincoln s relationship to civil liberties during the Civil War especially with regard to Copperhead Clement Vallandigham On the other hand Wilson s trampling of the First Amendment is dealt with in a cursory fashion Beschloss puts the fate of Eugene Debs sentenced to a decade imprisonment for daring to criticize America s entry into World War I which frankly deserves a lot of criticism into a footnote This issue I think stems from Beschloss lack of a thesis In Presidents of War he is a story spinner first and never uite gets around to expounding a theory of executive power with regards to making war If he had I think this would have been tighter and enlightening rather than simply a really good tale More than that Beschloss is a noted presidential historian and I would ve liked to hear some sharp judgments rather than is mild tisk tisking With that said Beschloss does yeoman s work with the Mexican American War the far lesser known Spanish American War and the Vietnam War I cared less for the Civil War and World War II chapters which is testament to their scope and sprawl and also the fact that there has been saturation coverage on the war handling abilities of Lincoln and FDR Beschloss ends each section with a few concluding remarks Here he actually gives a bit of a report card on that particular president s handling of the war over which he presided I liked these parts uite a bit and dovetailing with what I mentioned directly above wish he had done it in a rigorous and systematic fashion While Beschloss certainly draws comparisons between various presidents I think he could have done a much better job in this area Of course this is first and foremost a popular history and it is too much to ask for an analytical discourse when the authorial intent is clearly to reach a mass readership Beschloss has always been able to switch back and forth between mainstream and academic pursuits and here gives us something that is both ambitious and accessible and will be appreciated by both serious presidential students and those with of a passing interest This is what I call a Dad Book Don t know what to get your dad for Christmashis birthdayFather s Day Problem solved Dad will love it As I mentioned above Beschloss ends Presidents of War with the outcome of the Vietnam War He explicitly mentions his reasons for doing so that recent wars especially the War in Afghanistan and the Second Gulf War are too recent are unsettled history To an extent I can respect that line of thinking Certainly attempting hard judgments on the politicalmilitarylegalethical morass that is the War on Terror will be difficult in fifty years much less right now as it still unfolds and the emotions are still so high It is easy for instance to watch those planes hit those towers and immediately if only for an instant start to lose all perspective Still I think Beschloss missed an opportunity Presidents of War is an excellent book a near great read It is well paced and engagingly written and filled with anecdotes most of which are probably true But it lacks power It lacks a lesson And certainly there is a lesson to be found just one you have to draw mostly by yourself Congress has not declared a war as reuired by the Constitution since June 1942 when America went to war against the lesser Axis powers of Bulgaria Hungary and Romania In 2001 Congress skirted its duties by giving us the Authorization for Use of Military Force which allowed the president to wage war without declaring war This provided for the invasion of Ira and a war in Afghanistan that still sputters today A lot of people died and a lot of money was spent and those deaths occurred and that money was spent without a lot of honest debate about the reasons the necessity and the endgame Nevertheless there is no indication that this drift towards the normalization of undeclared wars is going to change It is a wide road that leads to war the saying goes It is a narrow path that leads back home In other words it is easy to get into a fight a lot harder to disengage Thus the best way to avoid a divisive and costly uagmire is to have a full and frank discussion before it starts I wish Beschloss had lent his talent and expertise to a stronger statement against our present reality that it has never been easier for a president to start a war with or without the consent of the people who will fight the battles or foot the bill

  • Hardcover
  • 752
  • Presidents of War
  • Michael R. Beschloss
  • English
  • 07 January 2019
  • 9780307409607