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Intellectuals and the American Presidency

Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians?

Tevi Troy

Intellectuals and the American Presidency examines the complex relationships between Presidents and America's intellectuals since 1960. From Arthur Schlesinger's work in John Kennedy's campaign and administration to Daniel Patrick Moynihan's role as the Democrat in the Nixon White House, through Sidney Blumenthal's efforts to secure intellectual support for a scandal-plagued Bill Clinton, every president since 1960 has had to address the question of intellectual support. Using both popular sources and some never before used archived material, Intellectuals and the American Presidency looks at the advisers who served as liaisons to the academic community, the presidents' views of those intellectuals and how they fit in with the presidents' plans. In this bipartisan study, political insider Tevi Troy analyzes how American presidents have used intellectuals to shape their images and advance their agendas. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 280Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7425-0826-2 • Paperback • July 2003 • $28.00 • (£18.95)
Tevi Troy is the special assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary. He has also served as the deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor, the policy director for Senator John Ashcroft (R-Missouri), and the senior domestic policy adviser and later domestic policy director for the House Republican Policy Committee. He has written for numerous publications, including the New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Weekly Standard, Journal of Commerce, National Review, and Reason. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Kami, and children Ezra and Ruthie.
Chapter 1 Intellectuals and the Modern Presidency
Chapter 2 Arthur Schlesinger: Court Intellectual
Chapter 3 Lyndon Johnson vs. the "Harvards"
Chapter 4 Man the Barricades: Nixon and Moynihan
Chapter 5 Bob Goldwin and the Ford Interlude
Chapter 6 Jimmy Carter: Dancing to His Own Tune
Chapter 7 Reagan and the Rise of the Conservative Intellectual
Chapter 8 George Bush: Searching for the "Vision Thing"
Chapter 9 Bill Clinton: At Home with the Intellectuals
Chapter 10 Bush, Gore, and Beyond
Chapter 11 Appendix: Guidebook for Presidents
In this witty and wise study, Tevi Troy tells how modern presidents have increasingly been surrounded, and at times hounded, by academics, writers, and other intellectuals. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 'brain trust' through John F. Kennedy's 'best and brightest' right down to the present, the White House has become a haven both for political operatives who specialize in winning votes and intellectual personalities who specialize in spinning ideas. Troy superbly profiles how presidents from Roosevelt to George W. Bush and their top political advisers have coped, co-opted, or crossed swords with intellectuals. For anyone with a serious interest in how we got where we are in American politics and the presidency, this book is must-reading.
John J. DiIulio, Jr., former director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Any man or woman who decides to run for President of the United States would be wise to read Intellectuals and the American Presidency. In his seminal work Tevi Troy identifies and explains the key to a successful presidency—and does so clearly and persuasively. As a Republican I hope Democrats do not read it—but if they do it will be good for our country.
Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution

Tevi Troy has given us a fascinating slice of history, in a well-written, balanced, and meticulously researched package. Intellectuals and the American Presidency provides illumination about both the modern presidency and the role of ideas (and idea people) in American politics and policy.
Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute

Love them or hate them, intellectuals are players in American politics. Good politicians realize this, and act accordingly. Tevi Troy smartly chronicles the surprising successes and occasional humorous failures of presidents who courted America's elusive yet vocal intellectual establishment. This lively and readable study is must-reading for lovers of history and politics alike.
Jack Valenti, chairman, Motion Picture Association of America

Tevi Troy has done the impossible! He's written an interesting and engaging analysis of the role of White House eggheads without resorting to excessive nudity or violence.
Jonah Goldberg, syndicated columnist and editor-at-large, National Review Online

Tevi Troy tells the delicious tale of how presidents exploit the ambition and insecurity of intellectuals—or ignore them at their peril. Highly recommended for thinkers who thirst to be on cable t.v.
Stephen Hess, Brookings Institution

Tevi Troy's Intellectuals and the American Presidency is original and readable—required reading for intellectuals, Presidents, and the rest of us.
Ben Wattenberg, American Enterprise Institute

As presidential politics grows more superficial, the general assumption is that intellectuals—people who deal in ideas—grow less relevant. Tevi Troy shows how wrong and lazy that assumption is. With striking clarity and in rich historical detail, he reveals that, for better and for worse, intellectuals are crucial to the success and survival of a modern president.
Peter Beinart, The New Republic

The tale of presidents and intellectuals, sometimes awkward, sometimes cozy, invariably important, is too often ignored. Not so in Tevi Troy's illuminating and enlightening new study. A fitting read for the talking head era.
Jay Winik, author of April 1865: The Month That Saved America

Since the early 1960s, the administrations of each president have brought intellectuals into their folds, with a view toward using their ideas to come up with good public policy. The extent to which they have succeeded—or failed—at this is the subject of Tevi Troy's Intellectuals and the American Presidency, a book that bids fair to become the definitive work on the subject—and which will deliver to its readers some interesting surprises about the role of intellectuals in politics and public policy.
Michael Barone, U.S. News & World Report

This useful and interesting book highlights an important element in presidential politics and is recommended for those interested in the presidency and the history of ideas
Michael Genovese; Library Journal

Tevi Troy's engaging Intellectuals and the American Presidency chronicles, among much else, FDR's 'brain trust,' the academic sycophants of Kennedy's Camelot, and the thinkers who gave George W. Bush his 'compassionate conservativism' [and] raises questions as old as political philosophy itself: Where should our leaders look for wisdom? Whom should they seek to please?
The Wall Street Journal

[Tevi Troy's] smart, engaging volume, Intellectuals and the American Presidency takes us from Franklin Roosevelt's Brain Trust through Kennedy's Camelot, to the present day to show the dangers as well as the virtues of professional thinkers in politics.
Glenn Elmers; Precepts, (Claremont Institute)

Intellectuals and the American Presidency is a lively tale and well told, and certainly not meant for academics only. . . . It's all here and much more as Mr. Troy describes the changing presidency, the intellectuals' role in presidential politics, and the ever mutating media. It's quite a ride.
The Washington Times

Intellectuals have been attaching themselves to the White House since the New Deal, and presidents have been attaching themselves to intellectuals, with results that have at times been amusing, at times infuriating, and even at times—though not many—mutally rewarding, yet apart from a handful of memoirs by egghead lapdogs the subject of this peculiar relationship has been widely ignored. Tevi Troy fills this void.
Jonathan Yardley; The Washington Post

Intellectuals and the American Presidency is an engaging, well-researched book.
James Nuechterlein; COMMENTARY

Intellectuals and the American Presidency is a wonderfully written insight into politics today. It reminds readers of the temptations of power and the dangers of political pandering that are endemic to government. It also has a postive message that no matter how slick or well-marketed, in the world of politics nothing is more powerful than men of action emboldened by real ideas and a dedication to principle.
Claremont Review of Books

Intellectuals and the American Presidency is not merely a history of the role of public intellectuals in the White House. Instead it describes the strategies presidents employ when they deal with the American intellectual community. Troy is able to argue convincingly that these strategic decisions about intellectuals have real consequences for the president's leadership and political authority.
Colleen J. Shogan, George Mason University; Humane Studies Review

The book is well-researched and readable, perhaps the definitive work on the role of the intellectual in the success of the modern presidency. It belongs with the classics of Neustadt and Barber.
Frank Coppa; Perspectives on Political Science

A splendid antidote. . . . In this tightly written book, Tevi Troy shoes that the intellectual's place in the White House is usually a subordinate one. Presidents use professors for their own purposes, not the other way around. Aspiring White House aides should know about the services they could render, as well as the severe limitations of their role. They may find their own clues in Tevi Troy's excellent study.
John J. Pitney Jr., Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics, Claremont McKenna College; Claremont Review of Books

Tevi Troy's new book Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians? offers a readable and compelling account of the influence that intellectuals have had upon presidents.
Jackson Murphy; Enterstageright.Com

Troy's book offers an engaging account of the often-overlooked role that intellectuals play in the White House—and a welcome reminder that a successful president needs more than just polls and political positioning.
Troy K. Schneider; Nationaljournal.com

This is a very readable book for both those in and out of government as well as for those in and out of 'the business.' It is, at once, interesting personality description and previously untold history mixed with intriguing analysis.
Seth Leibsohn; Techcentralstation.Com

For the politically savvy, Troy's book is a valuable resource as a scholarly study colored with insightful analysis.
Shira Schoenberg; Journal Of The Royal Musical Association

The strength of this book—apart from its arguements and learning—lies in its anecdotes, its telling and often delightful details. His will be the book to consult for years to come.
Jay Nordlinger; New York Sun

In fact, intellectuals are so important to the American presidency that U.S. presidents 'ignore the intellectuals at their peril.' This is the thesis of Tevi Troy's important and absorbing book Intellectuals and the American Presidency.
The Public Interest

Troy's book is engagingly written, thoroughly researched, and well argued.
Political Studies Review

Tevi Troy's Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosphers, Jesters, or Technicians shows how we professors who advise politicians envision ourselves as philosophers but generally fall into the second or third camp.