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Presidential War Power

Second Edition, Revised

Louis Fisher

304 pages, 6 x 9
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-1332-8, $35.00
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-1333-5, $16.95

book cover imageA classic and bestselling work by one of our top Constitutional scholars, Presidential War Power garnered the lead review in the New York Times Book Review and raised essential issues that have only become more timely, relevant, and controversial since its initial publication nearly a decade ago.

In this new edition, Louis Fisher updates his arguments throughout, critiques the presidential actions of William Clinton and George W. Bush, and challenges their dangerous expansion of executive power. Spanning the life of the Republic from the Revolutionary Era to the nation’s post–9/11 wars, the new edition now covers:

• New military initiatives including the Use of Force Act, the Iraq Resolution of 2002, George W. Bush’s new “preemption doctrine,” and his order authorizing military tribunals.

• President Clinton’s overt and covert military actions in Bosnia and against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden.

• George H. W. Bush’s reasons for not pushing on to Baghdad to overthrow Saddham Hussein after DESERT STORM.

• Numerous Congressional initiatives, including a 1995 effort to amend the War Powers Resolution and a proposed 1998 amendment to use the power of the purse to limit presidential military initiatives.

• The 1998 CIA “whistle-blowing” statute.

• New sections on the Vandenberg Resolution of 1948, the “Little Sarah” incident of 1793, and early apparent precedents that did not make the President the “sole organ” of foreign affairs.

• New material on letters of marque and reprisal, the law of nations, presidential “fame,” and the contributions of Joseph Story.

“An authoritative book on an issue that goes to the heart of what the Constitution says and whether it still has a controlling influence on our national life.”--New York Times Book Review

“An intelligent and convincing contribution to the debate over our form of government.”--Washington Post Book World

“Should be read by all Americans interested in the political well-being of their country.”--Presidential Studies Quarterly

“An essential volume for all libraries.”--Choice

“Fisher’s fundamental point is compelling: the power to commence war was given to the Congress under the Constitution and should remain there."--Yale Law Review

“Trenchant, provocative, and powerful, with lean and lucid prose.”--American Political Science Review

“Should be required reading on Capitol Hill and in the White House as well as in classrooms.”--Political Science Quarterly

"This important book deserves the widest possible readership and should be compulsory reading for every Congressman and President. A tour de force."--Leonard W. Levy, editor-in-chief, Encyclopedia of the American Constitution

"A lucid and thoughtful work by the nation's top authority on the separation of powers doctrine. Fisher gives a balanced account of differences on this contentious topic but pulls no punches in presenting his own views. This book will be cited for years to come. It's a classic."--Michael J. Glennon, author of Constitutional Diplomacy and former legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee

"No one knows more about this complex issue than Louis Fisher. Those who care about the preservation of constitutional government in the United States will want to study this careful, sensible, and deeply disturbing book."--Donald L. Robinson, author of "To the Best of My Ability": The Presidency and the Constitution

"This volume is simply indispensable to anyone who cares about how this nation resorts to the use of force abroad. With great insight, Fisher explores the dangerous drift toward excessive presidential discretion over war-making."--Loch K. Johnson, author of America as a World Power: Foreign Policy in a Constitutional Framework

"This impressive volume displays the great sweep of Fisher's knowledge and historical understanding in the ever-churning war powers field. It's both a necessary addition to the constitutional bookshelf and a fascinating read in its own right."--Harold Hongju Koh, author of The National Security Constitution: Sharing Power after the Iran-Contra Affair

LOUIS FISHER is Scholar in Residence at the Constitution Project. He previously worked at the Library of Congress as Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers (Congressional Research Service) and Specialist in Constitutional Law (Law Library) and has testified before Congress fifty times. He is the author of twenty books, including The Constitution and 9/11 and Military Tribunals and Presidential Power, winner of the 2006 Richard Neustadt Book Award for Best Book on the American Presidency.

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