By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
John Yoo’s new book “Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush” gives a historical accounting of presidential power and politics utilizing five Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Each of these men left his timeless stamp on American history through his actions and his ideals. Some good, some bad… Some to be admired and some in my opinion to be deplored. But that is a serious Constitutional discussion for another day. There is no doubt that the actions of these Presidents transformed the roll of the American President – their imprints go beyond mere historical impact. A brief summary of Yoo’s personal backgound::
John Yoo was a significant participant in the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. As a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, he wrote many of the legal briefs on which the Bush administration relied, including, famously, a number of memos relating to the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Yoo served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2001 to 2003. He worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security, and the separation of powers.
One should also read Yoo’s previous books on Bush and his Presidential powers, War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account of the War on Terror and The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11. These books are great resources concerning national security and the Oval Office.
Yoo is an exceptionally gifted author, attorney and someone I admire deeply. Not only for the writing of Crisis and Command, which I consider to be a literary and historical masterpiece from a timeless perspective, but an intellect that is fascinating to delve into. Honestly, this book will have an honored place in my historical library which is considerable and should be required reading for anyone interested in American history and our Founding Fathers and the impact that Presidents have had on said history. He not only masterfully goes through history from a leadership angle, he deconstructs the Presidential intent and effect that came through each Presidential term he covers.
I share Yoo’s precept that it is a good thing to have a strong executive office and many of the actions we see even now are nothing new. However, I also read history so that I can watch for violations of the Constitution – which have occurred throughout our history – and how to prevent them and ring the alarm on abuse of that executive power that can be used to protect the American people or, for the sake of power and control, harm the American people. That is an abuse occurring right here and now in the Obama administration and he will be remembered historically for his anti-Constitutional standings and policies.
Crisis and Command is a great read and I highly recommend it… Five stars to John Yoo and I look forward to his next book.