Sunday, 22 November 2015


Stints at the Oval Office

  • By Bayo Ogunmupe 
0OVAL Office: Stories of United States Presidents in Crisis from Washington to Bush is a best-selling book on America’s top leaders as they face their greatest challenges. Edited by Nathaniel May, Oval Office was published by the Avalon Publishing Group Incorporated, New York, U.S. It was first published 2002, with its fourth edition coming in 2014.The fifteen gripping stories are told by the mostaccomplished writers of the past century. They show us how presidents have made their most historic decisions during times of war, rebellion and scandal.
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Some presidents made those decisions to resolve great conflicts. Pulitzer Prize winning author, David McCullough describes Harry Truman’s fateful decision to use atomic weapons against Japan. Garry Willis explains how Abraham Lincoln seized the moment after Gettysburg to redefine the United States purpose. Edmund Morris, Theodore Roosevelt’s greatest biographer, describes the ailing president’s b id to resolve a miners’ strike that threatened to erupt into a full-scale class war.
Other accounts profile scandals that have threatened the institution of the Presidency as well as the men who occupied the office. Richard Nixon’s Watergate woes are chronicled by Barry Sussman and by the two men – Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward whose journalism brought down his presidency. Ronald Reagan’s plans to trade arms for hostages come under horrified scrutiny from his secretary state, George Shultz, as well as Reagans official biographer – Edmund Morris and the gadfly Joe Klein – author of Primary Colours – contemplates the scandal that altered Bill Clinton’s legacy.
These stories include tales of triumph and tragedy. America’s leading historian Michael Beschloss reviews John F. Kennedy’s approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis and concludes that the young president risked nuclear war for political rather than strategic reasons. Clark Clifford, adviser to generations of America’s political leaders – recounts his attempts to halt Lyndon Johnson’s slide into the morass of Vietnam.
John Robert Greene describes how George Herbert Bush garnered support from other nations to launch Desert Storm and repulse the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – and two New York Times reporters recount the younger Bush’s early attempts to rally Americans after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Like other books of its kind, Oval office includes only the best writing about its subjects.

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