Presidential Command: Power, Leadership, and the Making of Foreign Policy from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush

Presidential Command: Power, Leadership, and the Making of Foreign Policy from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush

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By (author) Peter W Rodman, Introduction by Henry A Kissinger

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  • Publisher: Vintage Books USA
  • Format: Paperback | 351 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 202mm x 16mm | 181g
  • Publication date: 12 January 2010
  • ISBN 10: 0307390527
  • ISBN 13: 9780307390523
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 746,792

Product description

An official in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and both Bush administrations, Peter W. Rodman draws on his firsthand knowledge of the Oval Office to explore the foreign-policy leadership of every president from Nixon to George W. Bush. This riveting and informative book about the inner workings of our government is rich with anecdotes and fly-on-the-wall portraits of presidents and their closest advisors. It is essential reading for historians, political junkies, and for anyone in charge of managing a large organization.

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Author information

Peter W. Rodman was a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. He served as deputy assistant to the president for National Security Affairs, as director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, as special assistant to Henry Kissinger in the White House, and, most recently, as assistant secretary of defense of international security affairs (2001-2007). Rodman is the author of More Precious Than Peace. He died in August 2008.

Review quote

"A brilliant tutorial on the way presidents, regardless of party or ideology, have struggled to control the vast national security bureaucracy they inherit after taking the oath of office." --"Wall Street Journal" "Presidential Command should be on the short list of readings for members of the Barack Obama administration--as much for its pointing out the mistakes to avoid as for illustrating the procedures to emulate." --Gary Hart, "The New York Times Book Review" "A guide about what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to making successful and effective national security policy." --"The Washington Times" "In an age of sensational leaks and headline-grabbing exposEs that illuminate very little, it is bracing to read Peter Rodman's calm and reasoned dissection of foreign policy over the course of several recent administrations, which illuminates very much. His is the quiet voice of wisdom." --Robert D. Kaplan, author of "Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos" "Outstanding. . . . On target. . . . Timely. . . . Rodman's experience in five of the presidencies he discusses, and his lucid style, keep the focus on reality and the narrative lively. . . . [His] studiously evenhanded and balanced style makes his zingers even more telling when they explode on the page, and he is especially acute assessing Republican administrations in which he served." --"National Review" "Fascinating and insightful." --"Richmond Times-Dispatch" "Surprisingly fun. . . . Rodman moves along briskly, mixing insidery dish with lucid analysis." --"Bloomberg News" "This masterful series of studies, by one of America's most gifted and sensitive national security analysts, merges a scrupulous taste for clarity with a broad and humane vision of the American national interest. It is enlightening, penetrating and always fascinating." --Philip Bobbitt, author of "Terror and Consent" "[Presidential Command] brings to bear the qualified judgment of someone who in many cases was actually there. . . . [Rodman] has bequeathed his country a priceless legacy. One can only hope that administrations present and future will make good use of it." --"The American Spectator" "Pungent, provocative, perspicacious. . . . An incisive, in-depth, and often firsthand examination of the successes and failures of the last seven administrations." --"Tulsa World" "Invaluable. . . . Rodman casts a cold light on a number of established clichEs about foreign policy conflicts. . . . But at its heart this book is about more than foreign policy. In the end, Presidential Command is about the central problem of democratic government today in all fields of policy." --"The Weekly Standard" "Telling. . . . Rich in detail." --"The National Interest" "Rodman [had] a close-up look at the process of governmental decision-making--and the bureaucratic elbowing that the process usually entails. . . . His rankings of presidential performance pack interest." --"St. Louis Post-Dispatch" "Observers of the new Obama administration and its inaugural moves in foreign affairs should find lessons in Rodman's experienced outlook." --"Booklist" "Peter Rodman was incisive, wise, and fair and these qualities are reflected in his revealing, timely, and truly important account of how our recent presidents both succeeded and failed in exercising strategic 'command' over U.S. foreign policy." --Zbigniew Brzezinski