- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780316118057
- ISBN-13: 978-0316118057
- ASIN: 0316118052
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,580,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy Paperback – April 28, 2008
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About the Author
Charlie Savage began his reporting career in 1999, covering local and state government for the Miami Herald. In 2003, he joined the Boston Globe's Washington Bureau. Savage lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and son.
51 customer reviews
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This is a very angry-making book. It takes all of those news stories that were of concern during the last eight years and sets them into a context. Really, just putting them all together is enough cause for anger, but some of the additional details that did not get much publicity the first time around are also very disturbing. The controversies around torture and wire-tapping were well-known, and the issues in the Justice Department had been getting more publicity recently, but I had not known about the attacks on the JAG corps or Posse Comitatus. Even with torture, I knew the basic controversy, and the common assertion that it doesn't work, but this gives the background on the history of the techniques and how they were developed, as well as some of the fall out from the faulty information that came through enhanced interrogation techniques.
While I feel the information is vital, and accurate, I must warn that it is not as accessible as it could me. The book is long, with dense prose and tons of detail that can be a bit overwhelming. I could have finished it faster than I did, but it still takes serious time regardless. Not a beach read.
I hope to re-read it later, after I have read Schlesinger's original book on the Imperial Presidency, Frank's books on this presidency, and maybe a few others to fill in the gaps, and see if it is an easier read with more background.
One of the strengths of this book is the information about Dick Cheney and how integral a part he has played over the course of his career in the White House in his obsession with strengthening the presidency. With George W. Bush he has succeeded in making the presidency virtually free from oversight on the part of the legislative and judicial branches.
A disturbing pattern of behavior appears in the current administration; if the Constitution, a law, or Congress gets in their way, they simply ignore the obstacle and continue on.
Mr. Savage examines another intriguing aspect of the Bush administration that is secretive. That would be the conflicts in the White House involving an inner circle of people around Dick Cheney.
An interesting tidbit that Judicial Watch discovered about Cheney's secret energy task force- as early as March 2001, two years before the invasion of Iraq, the group was studying Iraqi oil fields and who owned the drilling rights.
On page 132 is a relevant quote on the quest for political power. "The rule of law is the enemy of the powerful. The essence of law is that everyone obeys the same rules regardless of weakness or strength, so the law chafes most keenly against those who, in a world without rules, have the power to simply impose their will."
George Sutherland wisely said "An informed public is the most potent of all restraints upon misgovernment."
Mr. Savage covers the president's signing statements as alternatives to vetoes. The use of this tool to more or less serve as a line-item veto is explained. He also does an excellent job on examining the judicial appointments of this regime. The unofficial criteria for a Bush appointee often get's missed amidst the buzz surrounding social issues like abortion.
I can't think of a better-written, more illuminating book about the subject of presidential power expansion, both from a current view as well as a historical standpoint. If you read just one book about the subject, this is the book to read!
When people complain about the current President, I just throw this book at them and tell them to read it then get back to me.
The fact that many won't read it tells me more than necessary about them. They think just like the previous administration - nothing was wrong with what they did. And one wonders why there is such a deep divide in this country today.
I could go on, but I won't. This is a slight review of a book and not a political diatribe. But if you have an open mind, then do get this and give it a read.
The result of their hubris came close to ruining America's reputation among nations and jeopardized the freedoms of citizens assured by the constitution and the bill of rights. During those years the stage was set which has brought us to the brink of catastrophe. If there was ever an occasion which would justify prosecution of our chief executives it is revealed in this book. A shocking expose! A very sad must read.