Leading from the Center
Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents
By (author) Gil Troy
Leading from the Center by Gil Troy
Book DescriptionGeorge Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy-most would agree their presidencies were among the most successful in American history. But what made these very different men such effective leaders? According to presidential historian Gil Troy, these presidents succeeded not because of their bold political visions, but because of their moderation. Although many of the presidential hopefuls for 2008 will claim to be moderates, the word cannot conceal a political climate defined by extreme rhetoric and virulent partisanship. In Leading From the Center, Gil Troy argues that this is a distinctly un-American state of affairs. The great presidents of American history have always sought a golden mean-from Washington, who brilliantly mediated between the competing visions of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, to Lincoln, who rescued the Union with his principled pragmatism, to the two Roosevelts, who united millions of Americans with their powerful, affirmative, nationalist visions. As America lines up to select a president for the future, Gil Troy astutely reminds us of the finest traditions of presidential leadership from our nation's past.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780465002931
(235mm x 156mm x 29mm)
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 6-Mar-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Gil Troy
Moynihan's Moment, Hardback (December 2012)
A critical look at American Ambassador to the UN Daniel Patrick Moynihan's valiant stand against its 1975 declaration of Zionism as a form of racism shows just how much - and how little - Moynihan's moment accomplished, and how relevant it remains today.
Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback (December 2009)
This compact volume identifies and tackles some of the controversies and historical mysteries that continue to swirl around Reagan and his legacy, while providing an illuminating look at some of the era's defining personalities, ideas, and accomplishments.
Morning in America, Paperback (February 2007)» View all books by Gil Troy
Did America's fortieth president lead a conservative counter revolution that left liberalism gasping for air? The answer, for both his admirers and his detractors, is often "yes." This work covers Ronald Reagan's legacy taking us through the 1980s in ten year-by-year chapters.
US Kirkus Review » Moderate does not equal namby-pamby, and extremism is not an American norm; instead, the founders "celebrated modesty, balance, self-denial, and rationality," none of which seem abundant in politics today.Against those who hold that America has become bitterly divided between red and blue, Troy (History/McGill Univ.; Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady, 2006, etc.) observes that "a rich web of common cultural, political, economic, and social ties" tightly binds the nation. The best presidents, recognizing this network of elective affinities, have governed from a moderate, centrist position and shunned extremes on either side of the aisle. But neither does moderate equal passive: By Troy's reckoning, the best have exercised "muscular moderation," as with George Washington's straight-edged governance over a still tumultuous time and Theodore Roosevelt's refusal both to play to class loyalties and to accept the notion that capital and labor were necessarily inimical. By that reckoning, Dwight Eisenhower gets solid marks for his detestation of partisan politics and his quaint notion that the president was meant to be a unifier. Some presidents in Troy's account were set on moderate paths but turned less moderate by events, as with Lyndon Johnson in the face of the Vietnam debacle; some were moderately inclined but so sensitive to public opinion as to be swayed off course, as with Bill Clinton. As for the president who once trumpeted himself as a unifier, Troy joins with a growing majority in finding George W. Bush to be a disaster who "damaged America's national fabric by failing to lead the country as a whole" and insisted instead that he owed attention only to "everyone who shares our goals."Fans of Millard Fillmore, that noted moderate, won't find much new in these pages, but those sick to death of extremist rhetoric should be assured by the author's conclusions. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Gil Troy
A native of Queens, New York, Gil Troy is currently Professor of History at McGill University. He is the author of several books, including Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady. He comments frequently about the American presidency on television and radio, and has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and USA Weekend.
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