"A fluidly fashioned collection of essays about how the roster of American presidents shaped the executive duties as defined in the Constitution....an evenhanded consideration of each president's operating style and effectiveness...A useful...tome featuring top-drawer contributors."
"Gormley has assembled a first-rate group of scholars of the American presidency...This book deserves close scrutiny by any student of the U.S. presidency and political development."
“The collection of presidential essays leaves readers understanding the extent of the evolution that occurs with each new president.”
"Ken Gormley and 44 writers on all our presidents have connected the Constitutional dots brilliantly, demonstrating the immense concentration of power in the chief executive and the different, often contradictory, ways it has been used or misused. The book is a class in Constitutional Law all by itself. In several crucial ways this is what the 2016 race for the White House is about—who has precisely what power, who shares it, how is it going to be exercised, and what, if any, are its limits."
—Bob Woodward, Associate Editor, The Washington Post
"In our system of divided powers, presidents shape Constitutional interpretation with their appointments and by the arguments they make. But often, they have looked on helplessly as the Constitution was used to curb their powers and foil their hopes. This remarkable collection of writers captures the drama of this history, president-by-president. A great idea, well and gracefully executed."
—E.J.Dionne, Jr., author of Why the Right Went Wrong
“Everything you ever wanted to know about the Supreme Court and the Presidency but were afraid to ask.”
—Nina Totenberg, correspondent for NPR
"An indispensable book on a touchy subject. The American Constitution is not abstract art, it is the foundation of all of our laws. We cut ourselves adrift at great risk to the survival of our civilization. Reviewing the constant, ongoing battle between each successive president and the laws that limited his power offers a perspective that we haven't seen. Gomley has connected the dots and the results offer lessons beyond American history. This is a book about human nature and the struggle for power. As we can see, getting to the White House was not the end of that struggle. It was just the beginning."
—Doug Wead, author of The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders
“Gormley and his impressive roster of collaborators have abundantly delivered on the promise of this book's title. The balance between presidential power and presidential accountability is indeed a living history. And good thing, too, as the past generation alone has given us countless examples of how new conflicts and crises create new demands to revise and clarify the practical meaning of constitutional principles. Readers familiar with Gormley's authoritative work on the Clinton impeachment drama will recall how he blended scholarly detachment and fluency with the legal principles at stake with a journalistic gift for making political characters come to life, illuminating their human strengths and frailties, their mix of high and low motives. Here he has replicated that achievement and coaxed his fellow contributors to do the same. Their brisk and readable survey of 44 presidencies puts present-day controversies in context and shows how living history isn't about legal abstraction—it is about ambition, conflict, and the consequences and limits of presidential power.”
—John Harris, Politico
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