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The Double Edged Sword Paperback – December 24, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0813367774 ISBN-10: 0813367778

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (December 24, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813367778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813367774
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,780,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Robert Shogan, a national political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, has covered politics in Washington for 30 years. In The Double-Edged Sword, he considers how important a person's character is in determining his success as president of the United States. His assessment weighs the personalities and characters of most of the nation's chief executives, from George Washington's temper and self- confidence to Bill Clinton's tendency to shade the truth and avoid a firm stance on anything. For example:
In the case of Jefferson, his character was to remain a riddle that hung over his presidency, as it does over history. If Jefferson deceived others ... it was because his personality led him to deceive himself. This duplicity stemmed from fundamental personal conflicts, between his yearning for privacy and his urge for power and recognition.
Taking advantage of the attention focused by the national media on Bill Clinton's character in the aftermath of revelations about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Shogan devotes the chapter "Telling the Truth Slowly" to Clinton, who was, he writes,
limited as president by the taint on his reputation that had accumulated during his years on the national scene. What was missing from his presidency, as a result of a wide range of indiscretions, indulgences, and excesses, was the moral authority that usually accompanies the office.
The Double-Edged Sword begins by asserting that character does matter when it comes to presidents. It concludes by leaving an open-ended question as to how much Clinton's behavior may have permanently diminished the office. --Linda Killian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

A veteran political reporter presents, in effect, an editorial on the character issue, holding that character is double-edged in that presidents package their personality and life story to gain electoral support and that character defects are revealed in office. From the beginning, Shogan explains, private character has been entwined with public policy; Washington's rectitude and sense of duty made him the only conceivable candidate. Viewing the pageant of presidents, Shogan devotes most space to the "greats." Political attacks on their character were responded to very differently: Jefferson, with silence; Jackson, with verbal violence; and Wilson, with haughty self-righteousness. A career of covering presidents for the Los Angeles Times has endowed Shogan with a fund of anecdotes that, beneath his rubric that character counts, he draws on to make the narrative flow smoothly, up to his harsh appraisal of President Clinton's foibles. A topical book that will remind some readers of the essays in Character Above All: Ten Presidents from FDR to George Bush (1996). Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael J Woznicki HALL OF FAME on January 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Over the past seven years we have watch the most corrupt administration in American history and yet the approvals ratings are threw the roof. As a society have we just taken this for granted or are we fed up with the politics of Washington?
Robert Shogan's book, Double Edged Sword, enlightens this reviewer with a new and insightful reading about how this is not the first case of living and talking the double standard. Shogan has presented a clear case that politics and civilians are sometimes intertwined.
I enjoyed this book, and although there are some things I may disagree with, overall the author has a convincing set of arguments. Shogan has facts and data to back up what he talks about. Shogan makes reading enjoyable and fun with this book.
Whether Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal and everyone in between, The Double Edged Sword, should be on the must read list. A perfect book for the times and an impressive look into what makes the Presidency the most difficult job in the world today.
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Format: Hardcover
Over the past seven years we have watch the most corruptadministration in American history and yet the approvals ratings are threw the roof. As a society have we just taken this for granted or are we fed up with the politics of Washington?
Robert Shogan's book, Double Edged Sword, enlightens this reviewer with a new and insightful reading about how this is not the first case of living and talking the double standard. Shogan has presented a clear case that politics and civilians are sometimes intertwined.
I enjoyed this book, and although there are some things I may disagree with, overall the author has a convincing set of arguments. Shogan has facts and data to back up what he talks about. Shogan makes reading enjoyable and fun with this book.
Whether Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal and everyone in between, The Double Edged Sword, should be on the must read list. A perfect book for the times and an impressive look into what makes the Presidency the most difficult job in the world today.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again