While I was on vacation, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Presidential Leadership : Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House
, editted by James Taranto (Wall Street Journal) and Leonard Leo (The Federalist Society). There is a short essay on each president, each written by a different author. Collectively, they provide a fascinating story of the gradual evolution of the presidency and the entire federal government from the founding of the country through 2004. There are some additional essays on "issues in presidential leadership" and a survey that ranks the presidents.
It's really an all-star cast of authors, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every chapter. I particularly loved Christopher Buckley's article on James Buchanan (1857 to 1861), widely regarded as the worst president in our history to date. Other notable contributors include: Victor Davis Hanson; Peggy Noonan; Glenn Reynolds; Ken Starr; the late Robert Bartley; Michael Barone; Fred Barnes; Pete Dupont; Theodore Olson; Ed Meese; and John McCain.
Although I borrowed the book from the library, it's the kind of book I like to keep around for reference. I'll probably end up buying a copy of my own before too long.
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