The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power
The American Vice Presidency is an all-inclusive examination of the vice presidency throughout American history. Acclaimed political journalist and author Jules Witcover chronicles each of the 47 vice presidents, including their personal biographies and their achievements--or lack thereof--during their vice presidential tenures. He explores how the roles and responsibilities were first subject to the whims of the presidents under whom they served, but came in time to be expanded by enlightened chief executives and the initiatives of the vice presidents themselves. Constitutionally assigned only to preside over the Senate as they stand by to fill a presidential vacancy, early vice presidents were left to languish in irrelevance and ineffectiveness; only in recent decades have vice presidents received--or taken--more power. In particular, Walter Mondale, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden have undertaken greater and more significant responsibilities. Witcover reports the political maneuvering and manipulation that transformed the vice presidency from mere consolation prize to de facto assistant presidency. The American Vice Presidency, an insightful, revealing look at this oft-dismissed office, is a must-have for lovers of behind-the-scenes political history.
ISBN 10: 1588344711
ISBN 13: 9781588344717
Jules Witcover is a syndicated political columnist who has worked for the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and Star and the Los Angeles Times. He is author of fourteen books on American politics and history and co-author of five others. They include biographies of vice presidents Spiro Agnew and Joe Biden, a history of the Democratic Party, and accounts of five presidential campaigns.
This is the ultimate veepstakes book! Witcover shows that behind every vice president there is a fascinating political story, from those who got there through cold political calculation to accidental vice presidents like George Dallas, who was chosen as James Polk's running mate only after seven other men turned Polk down. Witcover writes with clarity and vibrancy, presenting a history of the United States through the eyes of our vice presidents.
There is no better person to write a history of the vice presidency and the people who have held the office than Jules Witcover. Over a long and distinguished career, Witcover has assembled a vast body of work about political campaigns, presidents and vice presidents—in newspaper stories, columns, magazine articles and a steady stream of notable books. This latest book is a comprehensive and readable guide to an office that once was considered a backwater post but has since become a source of considerable power and influence.
What a delightful book! Jules Witcover blends the insights of a top-flight political reporter with the wisdom of a historian to produce an indispensable guide to the vice presidency. All political junkies need this readable survey in their personal library.
—Lewis L. Gould
Extremely impressive research informs this valuable book of American history.
This is a well done and very informative survey of the careers of all the men who filled the office.
Veteran journalist Jules Witcover’s comprehensive new book on the vice presidency will tell readers everything they wanted to know about the 47 U.S. vice presidents — and then some more.
—Dallas Morning News
Serious scholars of American history will learn a lot. So will trivia buffs. And everybody else.
—Christian Science Monitor
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