Recent Publications

Please find below a list and links of recent publications on presidential history.


Iwan Morgan, Reagan: American Icon (2016)

Ronald Reagan is arguably the most successful post-war American president. This book ultimately shows that what made Reagan an American icon above all else was his optimism regarding his country and his ability to articulate its best values – even if he himself did not always live up to these. Today, as the Republican Party grapples with its new direction and identity, understanding the legacy of Ronald Reagan and Reaganism is more relevant than ever.

Fear of Elective KingFor Fear of an Elective King: George Washington and the Presidential Title Controversy of 1789 (2015)

In the spring of 1789, within weeks of the establishment of the new federal government based on the U.S. Constitution, the Senate and House of Representatives fell into dispute regarding how to address the president. Congress, the press, and individuals debated more than thirty titles, many of which had royal associations and some of which were clearly monarchical. For Fear of an Elective King is Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon’s rich account of the title controversy and its meanings.

Last campaignAnthony Clark, The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity & Enshrine their Legacies (2015)

The Last Campaign examines what presidents do to keep us from knowing what presidents do: skewed history, self-commemoration, the influence of private money and political organizations, and a compromised government agency – the National Archives. Presidential library expert Anthony Clark recounts his attempts, as a private citizen and as a senior Congressional staffer, to rein in the system’s worst abuses.

BoysBookJames D. Boys, Clinton’s Grand Strategy: US Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World (Bloomsbury, 2015)

President Clinton’s time in office coincided with historic global events following the end of the Cold War. The collapse of Communism called for a new US Grand Strategy to address the emerging geopolitical era that brought upheavals in Somalia and the Balkans, economic challenges in Mexico and Europe and the emergence of new entities such as the EU, NAFTA and the WTO. Clinton’s handling of these events was crucial to the development of world politics at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Only by understanding Clinton’s efforts to address the challenges of the post-Cold War era can we understand the strategies of his immediate successors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom inherited and continued Clinton-era policies and practices.

ObamaDemonMartin A. Parlett, Demonizing a President: The Foreignization of Barack Obama (Praeger, 2014)

The ascendancy of the first African American president was a watershed moment in American history. In response, President Obama’s adversaries have engaged in relentless and systematic mudslinging throughout his campaign and well into his presidency, “othering” him as a foreign and dangerous political figure. Never before has a presidential candidate been so maligned, by so many, in such a variety of ways—and yet won. This provocative study investigates the unrest behind the Obama campaign and election, and the controversial political machine that causes it.

ObamaEdCollMark Ledwidge, Kevern Verney and Inderjeet Paramar, eds., Barack Obama and the Myth of a Post-Racial America (London: Routledge, 2013).

The 2008 presidential election was celebrated around the world as a seminal moment in U.S. political and racial history. White liberals and other progressives framed the election through the prism of change, while previously acknowledged demographic changes were hastily heralded as the dawn of a “post-racial” America. However, by 2011, much of the post-election idealism had dissipated in the wake of an on-going economic and financial crisis, escalating wars in Afghanistan and Libya, and the rise of the right-wing Tea Party movement.
Ellis BookSylvia Ellis, Freedom’s Pragmatist: Lyndon Johnson and Civil Rights (University of Florida Press, 2013).

The first Southern president since the Civil War, LBJ promoted congressional approval of the ground-breaking Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Ellis examines Johnson’s life from childhood through his lengthy career in politics.  She will be speaking at UCL on October 24, 2013.

Kennedy White

Mark White, Kennedy: A Cultural History of an American Icon (Bloomsbury, 2013).

During his lifetime, John F. Kennedy created a dazzling image that has been sustained since his assassination in 1963. This book examines how Kennedy succeeded in using his military service in World War II, his literary efforts, his sex appeal, his family and other attributes and achievements to develop such a potent image.

Dumbrell Obama

John Dumbrell (ed.) Issues in American Politics: Polarized Politics in the Age of Obama (Routledge, 2014).

This wide ranging book provides readers with a reliable and lively guide to contemporary American political practices, processes and institutions.  Essays in the proposed volume will cover phenomena such as the Tea Party upsurge in the Republican Party, Obama’s health care reforms, recent changes to campaign funding emanating from the key Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision, US foreign policy after the War on Terror, Obama’s presidential strategy and issues relating to polarisation and partisanship in US politics.

Morgan DaviesIwan W. Morgan and Philip John Davies (eds.) Reconfiguring the Union: Civil War Transformations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

From the perspective of the North, the Civil War began as a war to restore the Union and ended as a war to make a more perfect Union. The Civil War not only changed the moral meaning of the Union, it changed what the Union stood for in political, economic, and transnational terms. This volume examines the transformations the Civil War brought to the American Union as a politico-constitutional, social, and economic system.

PerspPrezPerspectives on Presidential Leadership: An International View of the White House, Michael Patrick Cullinane and Clare Elliott (eds.), (Routledge, 2014).

At a time when understanding presidential legacy is in high demand, this book offers a unique international perspective. Through extended commentary and inter-disciplinary study of the UK perspective it provides groundbreaking research.


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