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Bitter Harvest

Bitter Harvest
FDR, Presidential Power and the Growth of the Presidential Branch

$39.99 (Z)

  • Date Published: February 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521653954

$39.99 (Z)

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About the Authors
  • This book argues that modern presidents could learn much from Franklin Roosevelt's method of organizing his presidency. Roosevelt consciously avoided a large, functionally specialized White House bureaucracy. Instead, he developed staff agencies composed mostly of civil servants and personally managed them using competitive administrative practices. Matthew Dickinson is the first scholar to reconstruct the methods FDR used and his research suggests modern presidents could benefit greatly by studying them.

    • Very timely book with role of the White House staff consistently in the news
    • Conceptually tries to extend Richard Neustadt's framework of presidency to incorporate institutional aspect
    • Historically detailed, drawing upon primary sources at several presidential libraries
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Bitter Harvest is a substantive and meaty book. It is well researched, clearly written, well-reasoned and closely argued." H-Net Reviews

    "This detailed study of Roosevelt's administrative strategy seeks new insights into how contemporary presidents might derive better service from their advisers by emulating FDR's practices....Dickinson's study may well inaugurate another round of reexaminations focused on FDR." American Political Science Review

    "Bitter Harvest is a substantive and meaty book. It is well researched, clearly written, well-reasoned and closely argued." H-Net Reviews

    "Dickinson's book is of great value to those interested in FDR, his administrative style, and his unique approach to governing. The insights the author draws are well documented and can serve scholars interested in further developing the area under investigation. Finally, the book does serve as an alternative to those advocating a highly-structured executive branch. The lessons for future presidents are worth noting." Presidential Studies Quarterly

    "Dickinson has written a provocative volume whose prescriptions will engage political scientists and those analysis of Roosevelt's policy making will interest New Deal historians....this book is an impressive piece of scholarship thoroughly grounded in the political science secondary literature....this is a thought-provoking study of an important topic." American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521653954
    • length: 284 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Presidential Power and Presidential Staff: Concepts and Controversies: Introduction: the fruits of his labor? FDR and the growth of the presidential branch
    1. Bitter harvest: the presidential branch and the Iran-Contra Affair
    Part II. From Cabinet to Presidential Government, 1933–1939:
    2. Creating the resource gap: bargaining costs and the first New Deal, 1933–1935
    3. The President needs help: the Brownlow Committee frames the Roosevelt Response
    Part III. Testing the System: The War Years 1939–1945:
    4. Preparing for war: economic mobilization
    5. Managing war production
    6. FDR and the rise of the National Security Bureaucracy
    7. The Commander-in-Chief
    Part IV. Lessons and Considerations:
    8. Competitive adhocracy: the principles and theoretical implications of FDR's staff use
    Epilogue: Roosevelt Redux?: a research agenda

  • Author

    Matthew J. Dickinson, Harvard University, Massachusetts

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