Ragone is a television and radio commentator on current political events and author of several nonacademic history books. His newest is an entry in the populous and popular genre of great presidential decisions. To make Ragone�s list, a decision has to be historically significant and taken solely on the president�s responsibility or, in Ragone�s vernacular, �impactful� and �proactive.� The 15 decisions his criteria yield also share the fact that the president rejected contrary advice, as in, working backward chronologically, Obama�s determination to reform health insurance despite advisors� prediction that it would cost him in the 2010 elections. Obama succeeded, and his advisors were right, which was also the case with Reagan�s �evil empire� speech and Truman�s dismissal of MacArthur. Such defiance of contemporary opinion and conviction of vindication by history animate Ragone�s accounts, which he enlivens with direct quotations from the chief executives in defense of their actions. LBJ, JFK, the two Roosevelts, Lincoln, Jackson, Jefferson, and Washington complete a roster that Ragone�s skill makes inviting to readers who occasionally dip into history. --Gilbert Taylor
"Nick Ragone brings an historian’s research skills and a storyteller’s enthusiasm to this fine book on presidential leadership. His look at fifteen key decisions is never less than thought provoking. This is a book that transcends its genre and is appealing to readers interested in history, leadership and power but also to anyone who wants to have some intriguing stories to tell at their next party."
--Paul Sullivan, Author of Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t