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Since 1945, as the U.S. has engaged in near-constant “wars of choice” with limited congressional oversight, the executive and armed services have shared primary responsibility for often ill-defined objectives, strategies, and benefits. Matthew Moten shows the significance of negotiations between presidents and the generals allied with them.
There was no more remarkable pair in the Civil War than Abraham Lincoln and George McClellan. At only 35 years old, McClellan commanded the Ohio troops early in the war, and won skirmishes for the Union in western Virginia. After the disastrous Union defeat at Bull Run in the summer of 1861, Lincoln sent word for McClellan to come to Washington, and soon elevated him to commander-in-chief of the Union army. But in the late summer and fall of 1861, things took a turn for the worst. Meticulous in his planning and preparations, McClellan began to delay attacking the enemy and developed a penchant for vastly overestimating the Confederate forces he faced. All of this hampered his ability to lead an aggressive force in a fast-moving battlefield environment. Finally losing his patience, Lincoln was famously quoted as saying, "If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time." Lincoln and McClellan takes an in-depth look at this fascinating relationship, from the early days of the Civil War to the 1864 presidential election when McClellan ran against Lincoln on an anti-war platform and lost. Here, award-winning author John C. Waugh weaves a tale of hubris, paranoia, failure, and triumph, illuminating as never before this unique and complicated alliance.
How Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq Made The Commander In Chief and Foretell the Future of America This is a story of ever-expanding presidential powers in an age of unwinnable wars. Harry Truman and Korea, Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, George W. Bush and Iraq: three presidents, three ever broader interpretations of the commander in chief clause of the Constitution, three unwinnable wars, and three presidential secrets. Award-winning presidential biographer and military historian Geoffrey Perret places these men and events in the larger context of the post-World War II world to establish their collective legacy: a presidency so powerful it undermines the checks and balances built into the Constitution, thereby creating a permanent threat to the Constitution itself. In choosing to fight in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, Truman, Johnson, and Bush alike took counsel of their fears, ignored the advice of the professional military and major allies, and were influenced by facts kept from public view. Convinced that an ever-more powerful commander in chief was the key to victory, they misread the moment. Since World War II wars have become tests of stamina rather than strength, and more likely than not they sow the seeds of future wars. Yet recent American presidents have chosen to place their country in the forefront of fighting them. In the course of doing so, however, they gave away the secret of American power—for all its might, the United States can be defeated by chaos and anarchy.
This second edition of The National Security Enterprise provides practitioners’ insights into the operation, missions, and organizational cultures of the principal national security agencies and other institutions that shape the US national security decision-making process. Unlike some textbooks on American foreign policy, it offers analysis from insiders who have worked at the National Security Council, the State and Defense Departments, the intelligence community, and the other critical government entities. The book explains how organizational missions and cultures create the labyrinth in which a coherent national security policy must be fashioned. Understanding and appreciating these organizations and their cultures is essential for formulating and implementing it. Taking into account the changes introduced by the Obama administration, the second edition includes four new or entirely revised chapters (Congress, Department of Homeland Security, Treasury, and USAID) and updates to the text throughout. It covers changes instituted since the first edition was published in 2011, implications of the government campaign to prosecute leaks, and lessons learned from more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. This up-to-date book will appeal to students of US national security and foreign policy as well as career policymakers.
At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world, when he suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. At a time when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way. The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalin's blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur's forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era.
Since it was first published in 1952, Lincoln and His Generals has remained one of the definitive accounts of Lincoln’s wartime leadership. In it T. Harry Williams dramatizes Lincoln’s long and frustrating search for an effective leader of the Union Army and traces his transformation from a politician with little military knowledge into a master strategist of the Civil War. Explored in depth are Lincoln’s often fraught relationships with generals such as McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker, Fremont, and of course, Ulysses S. Grant. In this superbly written narrative, Williams demonstrates how Lincoln’s persistent “meddling” into military affairs was crucial to the Northern war effort and utterly transformed the president’s role as commander-in-chief.

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