In this magisterial examination of the Presidency over the course of the 20th Century, the author explores the history of the world's greatest elective office and the role each incumbent has played in changing the scope of its powers. Using individual presidential portraits of each of the presidents of the past century Graubard asks, and answers, a wide variety of crucial questions about each President. What intellectual, social and political assets did they bring to the White House, and how quickly did they deplete or mortgage that capital? How well did they cope with crises, foreign and domestic? How much attention did they pay to their election pledges after they were elected? How did they use the media, old and new? Above all, how did they conduct themselves in office and what legacy did they leave to their successors? Graubard provides original analysis in each case, and reaches many surprising conclusions.
Stephen Graubard was editor of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1961 to 1999. He taught for many years at Brown and Harvard Universities. He first visited the White House in 1944 at the invitation of Eleanor Roosevelt, and has known many US Presidents and their main advisors since.