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Icons of Democracy: American Leaders as Heroes, Aristocrats, Dissenters, and Democrats Paperback – May 22, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A provocative meditation on the commitments and deceptions of leadership in the U.S., this incisive study focuses on nine political figures. Alexander Hamilton set out to control the democratic passions of the populace. John Adams punctured Hamilton's imperial fantasy, but his own version of aristocratic leadership failed. Abraham Lincoln achieved a "masculine/feminine fusion," avoiding paternalism and remaining open to citizens' views. Theodore Roosevelt and John Kennedy projected heroic images that afforded the public the pleasures of vicarious participation, while pursuing "a self-aggrandizing role that jeopardized" democracy. Franklin Roosevelt revitalized traditions of community but also oversaw the restoration of corporate power. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs and Martin Luther King, Jr. promoted the inclusion of women, blue-collar workers and blacks in the democratic process. Miroff is a political science professor at the State University of New York. BOMC and History Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Leadership and the responsiveness of government are receiving much attention with the changing of presidential administrations. By examining the ideas, policies, and rhetoric of nine important leaders, Miroff provides an excellent starting point for understanding effective governance in the 1990s. He identifies four leadership styles: aristocratic, leaders who stand above and apart from the citizenry (Alexander Hamilton, John Adams); democratic, those who educate and nurture their followers (Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt); heroic, those who flatter and primarily promote themselves (Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy); and dissenting, those who operate outside the system to mobilize dispossessed masses by engendering a sense of esteem and empowerment (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs, Martin Luther King). Miroff advocates the democratic/dissenting styles as most appropriate because they effectively combine stereotypical masculine (dominating) with feminine (nurturing) leadership. By including dissenting leaders in his discussion, Miroff has expanded upon Richard Hofstader's seminal The American Political Tradition (Knopf, 1948). Strongly recommended.
- Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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