No aspect of American politics, and certainly no other political office, attracts as much public attention as the office of the President. And yet, at the very founding of the American Republic, this office was nonexistent, and only came about after the realization that the much looser federation was not effective enough as a union. It took two hundred years plus for the presidency to evolve into what it is today: the most powerful political position in the World.
The book is particularly good at explaining the nitty-gritty of the actual governing. It goes in some detail to explain all the offices and departments that report directly to the president, and explains their role with ample historical examples. This potentially very dry subject is handled adroitly and made interesting even for readers who may not have much interest in this area. The book is a good companion to the other recent very short introduction book on American politics, American Political Parties and Elections: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions).
The chapters in this book, and the topics covered, are:
1. Inventing the Presidency
2. The Presidency Finds Its Place
3. Electing Presidents (and Other Ways to Occupy the Oval Office)
4. Making and Remaking a Presidency
5. Connecting to and Leading the Government
6. Presidents at Work: Making Law and Doing Policy
7. Reform, Change and Prospects for the Future