From Publishers Weekly
When President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr., in March 1981, the executive branch failed to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would have made Vice-President George Bush the acting president until Reagan could resume his duties. This compelling report documents the severity of the chief executive's injury, which the White House concealed from the public. Abrams, a Stanford University medical school professor, dramatically depicts the dangerous, sometimes farcical confusion in the aftermath of the shooting. James Baker, Edwin Meese and Michael Deaver ran the White House; "they were the president," quips Abrams. While Soviet troops seemed poised to invade Poland, Secretary of State Alexander Haig and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger jockeyed for power and squabbled over the alert status of U.S. forces worldwide. In a disturbing book that sounds an important warning, Abrams proposes guidelines for swift, effective action when a president is incapacitated. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
An effective means of transferring presidential authority because of assassination or illness has eluded the U.S. government for 200 years. Abrams uses the confrontations between Chief of Staff Alexander Haig and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger following the 1981 attempt on President Reagan's life to present a strong case for stricter adherence to the 25th amendment, which determines presidential succession. Authority should have been transferred to Vice President George Bush because Reagan, who initially had been in danger of dying, was totally incapacitated for several months. Fear of alarming the public and possibly encouraging a Soviet military response to the Solidarity uprising in Poland were the reasons given by James Baker, Edwin Meese, and Michael Deaver for not invoking the 25th amendment. Despite an uneven style that at times becomes prosaic, Abrams convincingly advocates the immediate use of this amendment and the careful selection of vice presidents. Recommended for current affairs collections.- Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp . Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.