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Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, The War on Terror, and His Critics Hardcover – March 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Rush to Judgment will alternatively boil one's blood and cast a chill on one's hopes for our constitutional republic. Blood will boil in indignation at the derelictions of academic, journalistic, congressional, and judicial duty that Knott exposes, while the chill will come as one surveys the accumulated results: a constitutional order out of whack, a political class overreaching, academic fields politicized, and a democratic citizenry dangerously misinformed and misguided." --Perspectives on Political Science

An impassioned and well-argued reappraisal of the presidency of George W. Bush and its use of executive power in prosecuting the war on terror. . . . The first shot in the inevitable revisionist reevaluation of the Bush administration. --Peter R. Mansoor, author of Baghdad Sunrise: A Brigade Commander’s War in Iraq

A terrific book and a much-needed corrective to the distorted accounts that dominate public discussion of Bush. Should be required reading. --John Ehrman, author of The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan

About the Author

Stephen F. Knott is professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College and author of Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth; Secret and Sanctioned: Covert Operations and the American Presidency; and At Reagan s Side: Insiders Recollections from Sacramento to the White House. He codirected the presidential oral history program at the University of Virginia s Miller Center of Public Affairs and has also served on the staff of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700618317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700618316
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen Knott is a Professor of National Security Affairs at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. Prior to accepting his position at the Naval War College, Knott was Co-Chair of the Presidential Oral History Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He also served for seven years as an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at the United States Air Force Academy. His books include "The Reagan Years"; "Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth"; "Secret and Sanctioned: Covert Operations and the American Presidency"; "At Reagan's Side: Insiders' Recollections from Sacramento to the White House"; and "Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics." His forthcoming book, "Washington & Hamilton: The Alliance that Forged America," will be published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015, and is being co-authored with Tony Williams, the author of numerous books on the American founding.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jerry S. on July 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steve Knott is to be commended for a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons of the Bush presidency. He is to be even more commended for placing it into an historical perspective of many past presidents, including the "greats". As Obama is finding, as have all presidents, transition from the campaign trail to the realities of the Whitehouse, dealing with the congress and staying within the strictures of the constitution and law is a severe challenge. I found the book very educational regarding presidential executive authority, especially the use of presidential "signing statements". The diabolical interplay of politics versus national security is highlighted. As a retired senior CIA official I also appreciated Knott' comments on the subjects of WMD and enhanced interrogation of terrorists, as well as the partial neutralizing of our intelligence efforts, post cold war-- even before that. In sum, a book well written and researched, and should be a required read for students of history for sure, and also for political science majors. To quote Knott: "the use of history as ideology, as a partisan tool,also means the corruption of history as history". We see that blatantly Post-Bush, via the partisan liberal press and the increasingly leftist academics.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By M. Spencer on March 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
So, you hate George W. Bush. Or, like me, you don't, but think he made some terrible decisions. Either way, you should read this book!

First of all, this work is highly entertaining. The author has an encyclopedic knowledge of actions taken by American presidents in the realm of war and peace and he shares some of it. The historical tidbits alone are sufficient to recommend the book.

But, beyond that, Mr. Knott performs the valuable service of making us realize that it was insufficient then, and still is now, to base any assessment of the Bush war on terror simply on the assertion that his actions were unconstitutional and therefore, perforce, evil and wrong. Mr. Knott makes a convincing argument for the constitutionality of Bush's actions. Thus, those of us who would most likely disagree with a favorable assessment of President Bush need to actually make an argument concerning why a policy was wrong or ill-advised, unlike many critics of Bush cited by Mr. Knott.

Those who agreed with President Bush will find that need for argument by the rest of us highly satisfying. Fans of the current president may be able to discern the same tactics used against Bush being used by current presidential critics. Both groups will find this book highly worthwhile.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tom Zampino on June 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In Rush to Judgment, Professor Stephen Knott has written a tightly argued and beautifully written book that successfully challenges the prevailing "pop wisdom" that George W. Bush's Presidency was both a failure and engaged in a systematic executive power grab in the name of protecting national security. While acknowledging that Bush will probably never be ranked among those Presidents now on Mount Rushmore, Professor Knott nevertheless carefully reviews the historical evidence and concludes that Bush was positioned well within the mainstream when it came to exercising - successfully - many Presidential powers.

Professor Knott also casts substantial doubt on the credibility of some of today's so-called "historians" - many of whom have been highly critical of Bush but have all too often given a pass to Presidents with a more progressive bent (including the current occupant) who engaged in similiar, if not greater, uses and abuses of Presidential power - sometimes even to the detriment of their domestic political opponents or suspected national groups (think of FDR and the Japanese internments, Woodrow Wilson and the ill-conceived prosecution of Eugene V. Debs, etc.).

Well documented throughout, Professor Knott's work is, I suspect, only among the first of many that will soon follow that will take a long-term, historical look back at the Bush Presidency; those works will likely conclude, as Professor Knott has, that there has indeed been a terrible and unfortunate Rush to Judgment about the Bush years. Historians years removed will no doubt treat George W.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Gutierrez on June 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Having read a number of Dr. Knott's previous works, "Rush to Judgment" continues his fine tradition of tackling issues with a depth of historical research that leaves one asking,"Where does he find this stuff?" I suspect that the critics of this work will see this as an apology for the Bush Administration's approach to the War of Terror. For me, it is less that than a comparison of the administrations over the years and how they have dealt with national security challenges. I will admit that I was expecting more of a discussion of the academes' treatment of the Bush
Presidency than I saw. The forceful intro and conclusion on that subject seemed to be lost in the text as Knott narrated a comparison of presidential approaches and the perceived constitutionality of those approaches. That being said, I very much enjoyed the read. It will go down in the body of Bush literature as a scholarly analysis of why President Bush's actions may not have been popular with many, but they were not unconstitutional. It also highlights the dangers of commentary from the cheap seats by many who have subsequently found themselves drafting very "Bush-esque" policies under the leadership of President Obama. They have learned the hard way that once removed from their lofty perches and thrust into the arena of governance, the choices are not so easy. Dr. Knott illustrates this point with compelling writing and research.

As always, Dr. Knott's books make me think and add to my knowledge on so many levels. "Rush To Judgment" was no exception. Congrats on another fine work.
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