In the first major, in-depth study since World War II, Michael P. Riccards provides a narrative history of the U.S. presidency that is also an invaluable reference. Volume One covers the presidency from its creation to its major crisis in the Civil War and the transitional presidency of McKinley. Volume Two Continues the history up to the presidency of George Bush. In Volume Two, he provides coverage of each administration and extended treatment of the more important presidents. Though there is some biographical material about each chief executive, the focus is on issues, policies, legislative achievements and foreign policy decisions for each administration.
Thisisaremarkable work that captures the changes in the office wrenched by its occupants. Riccards organizes his history into five models and illustrates each with anarrative that is both judicious in regard to the evaluation of individual presidents and penetrating in terms of discerning significant trends both in the office and in American society. It is a very safe bet that The Ferocious Engine of Democracy will become the definitive history of the American presidency.--Philip Abbott, Wayne State University