Catalogue


A higher purpose : profiles in presidential courage /
Thomas J. Whalen.
imprint
Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, 2007.
description
xvi, 254 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
1566636302 (cloth : alk. paper), 9781566636308 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, 2007.
isbn
1566636302 (cloth : alk. paper)
9781566636308 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6521144
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2007-05-21:
Boston University social scientist Whalen (Kennedy Versus Lodge) insightfully applies to residents of the White House JFK's rubric from his Profiles in Courage. As Kennedy did, Whalen seeks heroes who display a willingness to go against the political tide in order to do what is right. The ultimate example is Gerald Ford, who took the profoundly unpopular step of pardoning Nixon and then paid the political price in the next presidential election. Whalen also cites FDR's maneuvering to support Great Britain against the Nazis in the days before Pearl Harbor despite an isolationist and antiwar electorate; Harry Truman's firing of the abrasive but wildly popular Douglas MacArthur; and Kennedy's siding with civil rights interests challenging segregation at the University of Alabama. Several other examples are less obvious instances of presidential courage. These include Andrew Jackson's heartfelt yet ill-advised fight against a national bank and Grover Cleveland's opposition to the annexation of the Hawaiian islands. Two more events in Whalen's roster are debatable. Was Lincoln going against, or with, political currents when he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation? And was Theodore Roosevelt not catering to his large Progressive base when he broke up the Northern Securities railroad companies' combination? These quibbles aside, Whalen's study constitutes intriguingly construed history, eloquently told. Illus. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
A highly readable exercise examining nine instances in which American presidents have acted against their own political interest.
Enjoyable and informative recounting of...American history's greatest events and of the brave presidential decisions that made them possible.
Modeled after John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer-Prize winning Profiles In Courage, which focused on eight American political figures who put aside political considerations and sectional interests for the national welfare, Thomas Whalen concentrates on nine U.S. presidents who similarly exhibited moral courage while confronting national crises. An excellent read especially for the non-specialist as well as a worthy sequel to the JFK study.
These historic examples of presidential courage are needed now more than ever. Too often today, we confuse obstinance or defiance with leadership. Strong leaders are moral leaders who understand their first duty is to the nation not themselves. The author gives us hope that perhaps presidents can again find that higher purpose to leadership.
This is a timely and engaging study of moral courage in high office, offering profiles of nine American presidents “-including a few surprising choices “-who took stands they believed right, regardless of the political costs and personal consequences.
Whalen's study constitutes intriguingly construed history, eloquently told.
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, May 2007
ForeWord Magazine, September 2007
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Summaries
Long Description
In the American political system today, courage and the presidency are rarely spoken of in the same sentence. Forgotten is the wisdom of Andrew Jackson: "One man of courage makes a majority." Thomas J. Whalen's A Higher Purpose seeks to prove the truth behind Jackson's words by relating the stories of nine historic decisions made by commanders-in-chief over two centuries of American history. From Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation to Theodore Roosevelt's confrontation with the business trusts, these vignettes show how some of our presidents have demonstrated the capacity to place their political lives on the line for a higher purpose.
Long Description
In the American political system we know today, courage and the presidency are rarely spoken of in the same sentence. With a few notable exceptions, recent occupants of the Oval Office have appeared all too willing to sacrifice principle for the sake of political expediency. Extreme partisanship, special-interest money, and an unhealthy obsession with opinion polls have discouraged modern presidents from assuming unpopular stands. Forgotten is the axiomatic wisdom of Andrew Jackson: One man of courage makes a majority. Thomas Whalen's A Higher Purpose seeks to prove the inherent truth behind Jackson's words by relating the stories of nine historic decisions made by commanders-in-chief over two centuries of American history.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prefacep. xi
Slaying a Hydra of Corruptionp. 3
Ending a Monstrous Injusticep. 27
From Gentleman Boss to Reformerp. 52
A Matter of Honorp. 77
Taking On the Trustsp. 101
Saving Democracyp. 126
Slaying an American Caesarp. 152
Confronting a Moral Issuep. 178
Ending a National Nightmarep. 205
A Note on Sourcesp. 231
Indexp. 239
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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