What’s in it for me? A sweeping account of US leaders and their wars.
The most difficult choice a national leader can make is deciding whether to wage war. Forget about the huge financial costs, the diplomatic consequences and the potential damage to political careers – a declaration of war inevitably involves condemning some of their citizens to death, parents to a life without their children, and children to a life without parents. But as we’ll see in these readims, many US presidents didn’t heed this wisdom and rushed into pointless wars, wasting American blood and treasure. True, some were utterly unavoidable, like Lincoln’s Civil War or Roosevelt’s entry into World War Two, but even these great leaders made dubious decisions which stain their record. We’ll meet presidents who were goaded into a conflict they didn’t want by the public and press, presidents who were forced into war by an act of foreign aggression, and presidents who actively sought war for crude and ignoble reasons. But through it all comes a common theme – a progressive abandonment of the Founding Fathers’ desire for a democratic war-making process. In these readims, you’ll find out when the United States engaged in a land grab of over one million square miles, how Abraham Lincoln – a man admired for his liberal humanism – blatantly ignored civil liberties, and how Roosevelt heard hints about a Japanese attack before Pearl Harbor.