Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times

Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times Review

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 sending 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 his 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.

Title:Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    ”At about 4:30 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...

  • Matt

    “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, ...

  • Lorna

    Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times is a meticulously researched book that author Michael Beschloss has spent the last ten years in preparing it for publication by reviewing ...

  • Joseph Sciuto

    Michael Beschloss' "Presidents of War" is an extraordinary work, so extraordinary that it should be required reading for anyone seeking the Presidency, Vice Presidency, a Senate seat, a congressional ...

  • Argum

    I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads. An interesting thread to follow through American history, the presidents that served during wartime from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. A few ch...

  • Dave Schoettinger

    The author considers this book as being the history of American presidents using war to secure more power and independence of action at the expense of Congressional oversight; and it is that. However,...

  • Phil

    Beginning with Thomas Jefferson and the Chesapeake Incident of 1807, Beschloss takes his readers through a series of fascinating chapters on the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanis...

  • Karen

    This book is an in-depth discussion of how the American Presidents dealt with their power during the execution of the war they were involved in. These are: James Madison & the War of 1812; James Polk ...

  • David

    Beschloss introduces us to the evolution of presidential power in wartime with novelistic flair. Long on narrative, but somewhat terse in analytical terms, "Presidents of War" offers a balanced perspe...

  • Bill Zarges

    Very good review of how Congress was relieved of its constitutional prerogative to declare war.........