Presidential Power and rthe Modern Presidents A Critical Review

Many scholars and academics have claimed that Richard Neustadt’s book Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents, a brilliant and insightful commentary on not only the workings of the office of the president but also the pitfalls any president can encounter as well as the way personality and leadership fit into the making of a president.In short, Neustadtalmost gives us a model for what a president must be and what he must and must not do.He relives decisions and actions made by past presidents that have affected presidential leadership and power. It is easy to see why many attribute this book the status that it well deserves.It is easy to see why Kennedy reportedly kept a copy of thefirst edition of this book with him in the oval office.This book is a classic introspective study of the presidency that is unparalleled in quality.
For the most part, Neustadt does not look at presidents individually.Rather he takes situations that relate to his arguments and discusses how different presidents or depending on the situation a certain president dealt with that situation.He begins with what he calls three cases of command that he falls back on continuously through the work. He uses Truman’s tenuous relationship and eventual dismissal of MacArthur, the decision of Eisenhower to use troops to enforce integration of schools in Arkansas, andthe seizure of the steel industry by Truman.He repeatedly refers to thefirst two of these but uses the latter very little to illustrate his points after initial discussion.The basic structure is very effective because it provides for a study of the presidency as an institution, not a study ofpresidents.
Neustadt does not underemphasize the role that personality and style plays in term of each president.He uses it to support many of his assertions. He correctly points out that personality and style contributes to all aspects of how any man serves as president but …

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