How to Get Rid of a President : History's Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives
by Priess, David

Introduction President-Eject1(6)
Chapter One Rejected by the Party
Chapter Two Undermined by Opponents or Subordinates
Chapter Three Dismissed Preemptively
Chapter Four Displaced by Death
Chapter Five Taken Out by Force
Chapter Six Declared Unable to Serve
Chapter Seven Impeached and Removed
Chapter Eight Shoved Aside at the Polls
Chapter Nine Presidents, Processes, and the People

A darkly humorous political history of the manifold schemes, plots and conspiracies to remove unwanted Presidents details the stories and thorny ethical dilemmas that have accompanied U.S. presidential disempowerments, impeachments, forced resignations and assassinations. 30,000 first printing.

David Priess is author of the The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents. He has a PhD in Political Science from Duke University and served at the CIA during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as an intelligence officer, manager, and daily intelligence briefer and at the State Department. Priess writes, speaks, and appears often on broadcast media about the presidency and national security.

*Starred Review* His confrontational title notwithstanding, Priess has written a companionable history of U.S. presidents in crisis. Is the president a monarch? If not, how should the person be removed from office? The Founding Fathers struggled with this issue and eventually enshrined a method of impeachment into the Constitution to short-circuit the quadrennial election process. Priess reminds his readers of often-forgotten economic, social, and legal controversies that so inflamed citizens in the past. Some unpopular presidents, such as John Tyler, didn't reach reelection; others found themselves unceremoniously dumped by their own parties instead of voters. Even Abraham Lincoln faced such challenges. Priess excels at making presidents look tragically human: "When you're having a bad day, reflect on the life of Franklin Pierce and hug someone." Priess even awards the generally dismissed James Buchanan a few sympathy points. Anyone distressed or appalled by today's rancorous clashes over presidential prerogative and power may take comfort from learning that the nation has weathered it all before. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A timely anecdotal narrative about how every incumbent U.S. president has left office, focusing on departures or near departures under duress.In each chapter, former CIA officer Priess (The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents, 2016) discusses a discrete path toward departure: rejected by one's own political party (Presidents Tyler, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Arthur, and Lyndon Johnson); undermined by opponents and/or subordinates (Nixon); sunk due to general unpopularity (Taft); death by natural causes (Harrison, Taylor, Harding, Franklin Roosevelt); assassination (Lincoln, McKinley, Garfield, Kennedy); temporarily unable to serve due to a traumatic occurrence (Wilson, Eisenhower, Reagan); and impeachment (Andrew Johnson, Clinton). Throughout the book, Priess delves into the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, explaining debates among the Founding Fathers about how much stability to offer a chief executive. Nobody desired an executive with powers so weak as to be ineffective, but at the same time, nobody wanted to be ruled by a monarchy similar to the one from which the country had just won independence. The author makes the historical context relevant through his skilled storytelling, and at the end of the book, he concedes that his research focuses on the "how" of the removal processes without addressing the question of "when." Although Priess rarely mentions Donald Trump by name, he clearly has the sitting president in mind as he explores the idea of an incumbent president being clearly unfit for office. Of course, he writes, it is inevitable that a centuries-old Constitution cannot be expected to anticipate every permutation of unfitness. As a result, he suggests, without offering specifics, that contemporary policymakers consider amending the Constitution to adapt to current circumstances. Harking back to Abraham Lincoln, Priess writes that government of the people, by the people , and for the people must encompass fair but contemporary means of removing presidents if necessary. A mostly dispassionate discussion of an issue that must be addressed. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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