Presidents of War Read & download æ 102

Michael R. Beschloss ↠ 2 Download

Presidents of War

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 Excellent and especially relevant as it pertains to current international affairs Not surprised to learn that most of the presidents were lifelong avid readers—wish that was currently the case As Harry S Truman said “not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers”Appreciated the different perspectives from the biographies on Grant and Roosevelt I read earlier this year

Read & download Presidents of War

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 dying?President 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

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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 Michael Beschloss' Presidents of War is an extraordinary work so extraordinary that it should be reuired reading for anyone seeking the Presidency Vice Presidency a Senate seat a congressional seat or any cabinet positions in the United States Government This amazing piece of historical record brought me to tears on many occasions just thinking about the mothers and fathers who lost their children to wars fought for the benefit to get a President re elected out of selfish pride stupid intelligence and a rush to judgement without having all the facts The book covers all the wars the United States has been in since the War of 1812 through Vietnam in great and enlightening detail The Founder Fathers would be appalled at what Mr Beschloss has uncovered and considering that one of the ill prepared Presidents who rushed to war is a Founding Father Madison is amazingThe only wartime President who truly shines in this book is President Lincoln what a surprise and to a much lesser extent President Franklin Roosevelt because of the way he handled the war than how he got us into the warPresident Nixon instead of being almost impeached should of been hung as a traitor President Johnson should of been imprisoned and President Truman who is one of my heroes got us into Korea because of diplomatic mismanagement by him and his state department Truman the President behind the Marshal Plan NATO and desegregating the armed forces failed in an area he was a specialist in and the result was tens of thousand US deaths and countless woundedPresident Polk expanded US Terrority during the Mexican American War by literally fabricating a lie and in so doing added Texas California and New Mexico to our ever expanding country And in an ironic twist he captured those areas from the Mexicans who had been there long before us and now are being called criminals when they try to cross over into the United StatesThe Presidency of the United States is supposed to represent one third of our government yet every wartime President has amassed enormous power disregarding the role the Congress is supposed to play in declaring war Such a culmination of power was just what the Founders feared most because as the author reiterates throughout the Constitution was written to protect any one individual from having such power like the Kings and Dictators throughout the worldAn amazing book


About the Author: Michael R. Beschloss

Michael Beschloss is the author of nine books on presidential history including most recently the New York Times bestsellers Presidential Courage and The Conuerors as well as two volumes on Presidents of MOBI :´ Lyndon Johnson’s White House tapes He was also editor of the number one global bestseller Jacueline Kennedy Historic Conversations on Life with John F Kennedy He is the NBC News Presidential Historian.


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