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The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power [Paperback]

Gene Healy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: Cato Institute (May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193399519X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933995199
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 14.5 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,698,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars THOUGHT PROVOKING 26 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a thought provoking and exhaustively researched book.

Unsurprisingly it is an American story about American presidents and their increasing, alarming tendency to abuse power, but in a more general sense it is also a story of the general spread of big government and the disastrous consequences in terms of a systematic loss of freedom for the individual and a consequent and parallel financial loss in as a result of the impaired economic growth resulting from central planning and over-regulation.

As such it is the story of our times and to coin a phrase, a wake up call to everyone about the importance of holding our politicians to account, energetically and constantly.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly non-partisan; a must-read for every U.S. voter 6 Jun 2010
By M. S. Driver - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book, the second Cato Institute publication I have read, is as entertaining, engaging and refreshingly objective as it is thoughtful and well-researched (as far as I can judge from the wealth of endnotes, since I am not a political scientist). Alas, how thoroughly we have been indoctrinated from childhood to idolize our presidents -- the more powerful, the better -- to the point where our movie-hero expectations of them interfere with, and can even destroy, their ability to lead.

The U.S. president, in accordance with the worst fears of the Framers of the Constitution, seems to have indeed evolved into an elected king, with Congress usually as his handmaiden instead of his director (as the Framers intended), and with the electorate as an adoring fan club (viz. Elvis), or, in turn, a howling lynch mob (viz. Louis XVI)). However, the author does provide some reassurance that there is little danger of him/her becoming a de facto dictator in the future, with the army as junta.

Since I first heard a couple of thoughtful talks given on C-Span by Cato Institute members Daniel Griswold and David Boaz, I have let this non-profit (non-PAC) organization take me by the hand and lead me to a perch way up in the bleachers where I can now placidly observe the partisan ruckus on the floor of the political arena. Their purpose is libertarian, with a strong conservative bent (small "c"), but without the shrillness of the established parties and their adjuncts. I would also recommend Daniel Griswold's "Mad About Trade", a slender, well-researched and well-reasoned book (also quickly available from Amazon) supporting the many economic advantages of free growth of world markets and unrestricted U.S. participation in them.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, Profound, and Extremely Well-Researched 20 Mar 2010
By D. Sire - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I agree with Healy on so many points, and even where I don't, I am forced to find countering evidence. Engaging, significant: any person, liberal, conservative, libertarian, moderate, or independent should read this, if only for its research value.
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening 16 Aug 2013
By Madison H. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book isn't only for college students and those interested in the office of the presidency, this book is for everyone and should certainly be read by everyone. Healy takes a very unbiased approach in examining the history of presidential aggrandizement and not only assesses how presidents have taken more power, but the responsibility everyone in the United States plays in this issue. There are things in this book that will shock you, I promise. Not to mention, its a fun read. While it certainly does have an academic tone to it, Healy has certainly targeted audiences of all ages and education.
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