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Presidential Leadership: 15 Decisions That Changed the Nation Hardcover – February 1, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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

Review

"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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (February 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616142375
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616142377
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nick Ragone, JD (Georgetown University), is the author of The Everything American Government Book, Essential American Government, and President's Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Extraordinary Executives, Colorful Campaigns, and White House Oddities. He has written on recent presidential history and current events for USNewsWorldReport.com and has also appeared on The CBS Early Show, CNBC, ABC News, and Wall Street Journal TV. He is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is presidential history for the Facebook generation. Ragone dissects 15 important decisions in presidential history and provides a sharp analysis of their impact on the country. Each chapter concisely summarizes a challenge, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the fall of Communism, and the context in which the decision was made. The result is a quick, informative read that provides keen insight into the presidential mind.
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Format: Hardcover
While presidential history buffs naturally will soak up every page of this insightful and entertaining book, it will stir fresh perspective in every reader. How much of Kennedy's man-on-the-moon endeavor was motivated by "outdoing" his predecessor? What truly drove Teddy Roosevelt's vision for the Panama Canal? Ragone masterfully marries the "human" and "political" elements that guided each of these 15 history shaping decisions. His thoughtful look into these leaders - both as presidents and people - sets this book apart from others.
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Format: Hardcover
As an entrepreneur who invented a game (Charge Large) and sold it to HASBRO - I must say I'm constantly thirsting for knowledge from great people in history. However, what's most important to me is being able to truly relate to the individual so I can learn from their experience and store it away in my gut for future reference. Nick Ragone really makes you feel like you're sitting right next to past Presidents' while they make monumental decisions. While reading Ragone's book - I felt like I was literally hearing past presidents' internal dialogue and learning from their takeaways. I really love this book. It really is a great read. I highly recommend it!
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Format: Hardcover
Nick Ragone's "Presidential Leadership" is a wonderfully balanced history of fifteen important decisions that some of our presidents had to make. It is well-researched and well-written, with an eye to explaining both the historical and biographical backgrounds to, and the immediate impulses behind, these often very difficult decisions. Nick Ragone handles his material with a strong sense of balance--an empathic view of Truman, while presenting both sides of the MacArthur firing, for example, and a positive but restrained approach to Reagan. It takes fortitude and a conscious will to write those and the other chapters with passion but without a heavy hand. Ragone is not interested in rewriting history in his own image, but in presenting significant background so that we as readers can begin to understand the complexity of what our presidents had to decide. He has done so admirably.
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