THE FEROCIOUS ENGINE OF DEMOCRACY by Michael P. Riccards

THE FEROCIOUS ENGINE OF DEMOCRACY

A History of the American Presidency, Vol II: Theodore Roosevelt through George Bush
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The ``great man'' approach, ferociously but ploddingly revived. In the second volume of his history of the US presidency, Riccards (President/Sheperd College; A Republic If You Can Keep It, not reviewed) takes the story from Theodore Roosevelt to George Bush. He analyzes chief executives through the lens of five presidential models: Federalist (nonpartisan magistrates asserting power in foreign policy); Jeffersonian (working through consensus with legislative leaders); Jacksonian (using strong ties to the citizenry to exercise control over the government's agenda); Whig (deference to legislature); and Lincolnian (strong control over domestic and external affairs as a result of necessity). Nevertheless, based on secondary sources, Riccards's analysis offers no new insights or information. The first Roosevelt was scoffed at as ``that damn cowboy'' when he assumed office, but he asserted presidential power at home and abroad, busting trusts and building the Panama Canal. The conservative Howard Taft was Teddy's handpicked successor, though TR would eventually proclaim him a ``fathead.'' Woodrow Wilson skillfully maneuvered America into a world war and international leadership, completing a process begun during the Spanish-American War. A series of Republican nonentities followed him, leading to the towering figure of the 20th-century presidency, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The author gives Dwight D. Eisenhower credit for opposing Joseph McCarthy and keeping the US out of war in Indochina. He sees JFK as a dark figure and LBJ as the last president with a truly creative domestic agenda. A dull reading of grand history. (First printing of 50,000)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-56833-042-1
Page count: 424pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995