Giveaway Crisis And Command

by adustyframe ~ February 1st, 2010

I was given the opportunity to review Crisis and Command by John Yoo. I also have a copy to give away to you.

Synopsis from the dust jacket–

An American President faces war and finds himself hamstrung by a Congress that will not act. To protect national security, he invokes his powers as Commander-in-Chief and orders actions that seem to violate laws enacted by Congress. He is excoriated for usurping dictatorial powers, placing himself above the law, and threatening to “breakdown constitutional safeguards.”

One could be forgiven for thinking that the above describes former President George W. Bush. Yet these particular attacks on presidential power were leveled against Franklin D. Roosevelt. They could just as well describe similar attacks leveled against George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and a number of other presidents challenged with leading the nation through times of national crisis.

However bitter, complex, and urgent today’s controversies over executive power may be, John Yoo reminds us they are nothing new. In Crisis and Command, he explores a factor too little consulted in current debates: the past. Through shrewd and lucid analysis, he shows how the bold decisions made by Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and FDR changed more than just history; they also transformed the role of the American president. The link between the vigorous exercise of executive power and presidential greatness, Yoo argues, is both significant and misunderstood. He makes the case that the founding fathers deliberately left the Constitution vague on the limits of presidential authority, drawing on history to demonstrate the benefits to the nation of a strong executive office.

This book talks about the Presidencies of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, The Cold War Presidents.

From the introduction–

“Some people may read this book as a brief for the Bush administration’s exercise of executive authority in the war on terrorism. It is not. It is a book about the constitutional and institutional history of the Presidency. I examine how individual presidents viewed and used their constitutional authorities to deal with challenges, successfully or unsuccessfully.”

JohnYoo interviewed on John Stewart. It’s pretty interesting to watch.

My thoughts–

This is a well written book that will interest those who love politics or history. Mr. Yoo’s book is thoroughly documented and shares the experiences of the presidents with regard to Constitutional law.

I had a hard time finishing it all because it’s a serious book and it’s long–over 400 pages. I enjoyed what I read and look forward to learning more about the presidency.

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6 Thoughts Shared to Giveaway Crisis And Command


    It does sounds like an interesting analysis.

  2. BigJim

    I have been researching reviews, excerpts, video and audio interviews about this book for my blog. The usual arguments are made from each side but it seems as though Mr Yoo makes a good case for the strength and expansion of executive powers IN TIMES OF CRISIS. A point that is generally ignored by critics of this books thesis. Executive power has indeed expanded greatly, but not necessarily beneficially, over the years and this books historical consideration of the constitutional intention for that power will be helpful.

  3. Anita

    I’m not so much into politics, but I think my hubby would like this.
    roseinthemorning [at] gmail [dot] com

  4. adustyframe

    leaving a comment for Big Jim’s tweet of the giveaway.

  5. Anita

    I tweeted about this…
    roseinthemorning [at] gmail [dot] com

  6. Kerrie G

    This sounds like a book my husband would enjoy!!

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