Monday, September 8, 2008

Five best books about presidential administrations

Fred Siegel, a contributing editor of The City Journal and professor at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, named a five best list of books about presidential administrations for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
The Perils of Peace
by Thomas Fleming
Collins, 2007

The British might have been defeated at Yorktown in 1781, but America's success in the following years was hardly assured. As Thomas Fleming shows in his engaging "The Perils of Peace," the fledgling nation's future was imperiled in the 1780s by the absence of a strong executive. The exhausted and bankrupt U.S. government could have easily collapsed, not least because the series of men who served as "President of the United States in Congress Assembled" -- a nearly powerless leadership position created by the Articles of Confederation -- were unable to pay the country's increasingly mutinous army. Ben Franklin, facing outright hostility from his fellow Americans as he tried to negotiate a loan from France, warned that the British King George III, who saw Yorktown as only a minor setback, "hates us . . . and will be content with nothing short of our extirpation." Fortunately, Fleming explains, the British didn't realize how weak we were.
Read about all five books on Siegel's list.

--Marshal Zeringue