The Presidency

Greenwood (Student Guides to American Government and Politics). Apr. 2021. 127p. ISBN 9781440873942. $40. REF
Han (political science, Chapman Univ., CA) provides a brief but thorough explanation of the U.S. presidency, including its role in the Constitutional system of government, the powers of the office, and how presidents from George Washington to Donald Trump have shaped the post. Han clearly, expertly, and succinctly explains and analyzes aspects of the office, including its enumerated, inherent, and implied powers; the presidential selection process; White House communication strategies and relationships with the media; the impact of public opinion; the president’s relationship to other branches of federal government; and the president’s role in policy making and foreign affairs. Han impressively analyzes the evolution and expansion of the presidency over the last 200 years. The lengthy bibliography is an asset for readers who want to dig into the subject, although it would have been helpful to also list relevant resources for further research at the end of each chapter. That minor quibble aside, Han demonstrates that even though the U.S. presidency is arguably the most powerful position in the world, it is constrained by a system of checks and balances. Her concluding chapter, about the future of the presidency and the challenges ahead for prospective office holders, is especially stimulating.
VERDICT An excellent, balanced resource for high schoolers and undergraduates that’s also accessible to the generalist. Even political junkies with in-depth knowledge of the topic will glean much from the material.
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