On the Presidency: Teacher, Soldier, Shaman, Pol

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In an election year in which everyone seems to be looking for change, Tom Cronin reminds us that it is important to look back at presidential precedents and pitfalls, carrying forward these lessons as we look ahead in the search for the perfect president. America has never had a perfect president, nor are we likely to. We yearn for qualities of mind, character, and experience that are rarely found in one person. Candidates always have the flaws associated with being human. Noted presidential scholar Thomas E. Cronin helps us consider these realities with clarity and empathy, as one who has both written about presidents and run for office himself. Cronin unabashedly issues three cheers for those who run, and for all their helpers and advisers who provide us choices. In this election year, incredible diversity and therefore sharp disagreements of ideology and values prevail. Cronin puts all this in context with the history of the American presidency from George Washington to George W. Bush with a special focus on what he calls the Act III presidency of JFK. He takes us from the fiction of searching for the perfect president to the facts of the presidency in the post-9/11 world. Whether the next president is soldier, shaman, or somewhere in-between, Cronin gives us a glimpse of presidents future through the lens of presidents past.