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Robert Schmuhl chronicles the American presidency for nearly a century, providing a compelling picture of how the functions of the office and who occupies it have changed over the decades. The Glory and the Burden: The American Presidency from the New Deal to the Present is a timely examination of the state of the American presidency and the forces that have shaped it since 1933, with an emphasis on the dramatic changes that have taken place within the institution and to the individuals occupying the Oval Office. A new chapter and other elements have been added to the book, which originally appeared in the fall of 2019. This expanded, updated edition probes the election of Joe Biden in 2020, the transition of the White House from Donald Trump to Biden, and Biden's first several months in office. Robert Schmuhl traces the evolution of the modern presidency back to the terms of Franklin Roosevelt, maintaining that FDR's White House years had a profound impact on the office, resulting in significant changes to the job and to those who've served since then. Specifically, the Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms, has largely redefined each administration's agenda. News sources and social media have also grown exponentially, exercising influence over the conduct of presidents and affecting the consequences of their behavior. Schmuhl examines the presidency as an institution and the presidents as individuals from several different perspectives. The Glory and the Burden is an engrossing read for a general audience, particularly those with an interest in politics, American history, and communications.
"The expanded edition of Robert Schmuhl's The Glory and the Burden is an urgent and necessary read for anyone craving context and understanding of the American presidency at a volatile time for U.S. democracy. If you're asking yourself daily about why American politics and the presidency have become so troubled, this book is your answer." -Robert Costa, co-author of #1 New York Times best seller Peril and chief election and campaign correspondent for CBS News
"Schmuhl brings a historian's perspective while writing brightly with touches of humor. The Glory and the Burden plows new ground, making sense of what many dismiss as inexplicable." -Tom Bettag, executive producer for ABC News Nightline with Ted Koppel
"This updated edition of Robert Schmuhl's study of America's presidents is, like the original work, a thoughtful, thorough, and incisive look at the nation's leaders. Schmuhl provides a refreshingly cogent analysis of the complex individuals who willingly undertake that impossible job. For anyone interested in American history, The Glory and the Burden is indispensable." -Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author