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The Rhetorical Presidency (Princeton Paperbacks) Paperback – September 1, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0691022956 ISBN-10: 069102295X

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069102295X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691022956
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The Rhetorical Presidency is one of the two or three most important and perceptive works written by a political scientist in the twentieth century, and it is the one that may help the most to explain the pathological aspects of modern politics -- not only in the United States but in all social democracies." - Jeffrey Friedman, Critical Review (Fall 2007)

"Brilliant."  George Will, Newsweek, June 29, 1992.

"Writing in 1988, I argued that The Rhetorical Presidency was right in all its essentials, and beseeched political scientists to center future presidential studies on its perceptive interpretations and practical insights.  Now, some two decades and one White House experience later, I must revise that assessment. Upward, that is.  . . . The Rhetorical Presidency has proven to be even better as political development crystal ball than it was as a rear view mirror." -  John J. DiIulio, Critical Review (Fall 2007)

"Over the past few years the conceptual foundations of presidential studies have been recast. Jeffrey Tulis's The Rhetorical Presidency stands . . . as one of the benchmarks of the new formulation. . . . a formidable piece of scholarship."--Stephen Skowronek, The Review of Politics

From the Back Cover

"This is a brilliant book. The author does not overlap with the existing literature as much as offer an entirely new way of thinking about the phenomenon he describes. The book should draw respectful attention in a variety of disciplines--history, philosophy, and communications, as well as political science. . . . I could go on and on; there is no end to my appreciation for this work."--Michael Nelson, Vanderbilt University

"This book is full of good writing, sound judgment, and the exactly appropriate rhetoric for an analysis of the rhetorical presidency. Everyone is aware of references to the presidency as a bully pulpit and to presidents as great (or poor) communicators. But it takes a book like Tulis's to put all this together as an essential, perhaps the essential, political dimension of the presidency."--Theodore J. Lowi, Cornell University

"Making an image for presidents today is a sham rhetoric that must be judged within the history of presidential rhetoric since the Founding.  In this brilliant and original work, Jeffrey Tulis finds a new aspect on the presidency and rediscovers a forgotten topic in political science." -- Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., Harvard University

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Newsman78 on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tulis has written a brilliant account of the changing styles of presidential rhetoric. His essential argument is that the Framers intended the President to use rhetoric only to speak directly to Congress, rarely if ever to the masses, and always to put his ideas in a constitutional framework. But post-Woodrow Wilson, presidents speak directly to the public, even when ostensibly speaking to Congress, and have tried to overcome the constitutional barriers on their power.

This book is well-written and is compact enough to be read quickly, but these features take nothing away from the superlative scholarship (in fact, many dense books could use some judicious editing down to this size). A must-have for all scholars of the presidency, and for the casual reader who wants to learn more about presidential rhetoric.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Becker on August 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here is a critically important work on a major piece of the meteoric expansion of the executive branch of government over the legislative and judicial. Mr. Tulis carefully guides his readers over this under appreciated terrain of how our 20th century presidents have succeeded in imposing direct democracy from the Oval Office and the teleprompter. A must read for those concerned for preserving the remaining vestiges of republican government.
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By W.A.P. Thompson, Jr. on June 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tulis adds something to the study of Rhetoric in evaluating a President
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