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Shall We Wake the President?

Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office

Tevi Troy - Foreword by Joseph I. Lieberman

The history of presidential dealings with disasters shows that whatever their ideology, presidents need to be prepared to deal with unexpected crises. In recent years, the expectations have grown as the disasters seem to appear to be coming more frequently. Since 2001, numerous unpredictable crises, including terror attacks, massive storms, and an economic collapse, have shaken Americans to their core. It seems as if technology, for all of its beneficences, also provides mankind with increasingly powerful ways to wreak destruction, including nuclear explosions, bioterror attacks, and cyber-attacks. In addition, instantaneous and incessant communications technologies send us word of disasters taking place anywhere in the nation far more rapidly, giving disasters an immediacy that some may have lacked in the past.

In 21st century America, the eyes of the American people look to the president to lead the response to whatever disasters happen to strike. President Obama and his team learned this and were taken aback by the sheer number of crises that a president needed to deal with, including swine flu, BP’s Macondo oil spill, and the Somali pirates who attacked an American ship. Many of these did not quite reach disaster status, but Obama’s reaction to the constant stream of crises was both revealing and unnerving: “Who thought we were going to have to deal with pirates?”

Shall We Wake the President?, Tevi Troy, a presidential historian and former senior White House aide and deputy secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services, looks at the evolving role of the president in dealing with disasters, and looks at how our presidents have handled disasters throughout our history. He also looks at the likelihood of similar disasters befalling modern America, and details how smart policies today can help us avoid future crises, or can best react to them should they occur. In addition, he provides information on what individuals can do to prepare for disasters.

This book includes sections on how American presidents have dealt with a variety of disasters, including health crises, terror attacks, economic upheaval, bioterror and cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and civil breakdown. In doing so,
Shall We Wake the President? will provide lessons from presidents of the past that will inform policy strategies for presidents of the future.
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Globe Pequot Press / Lyons Press
Pages: 264Size: 6 3/8 x 9 1/4
978-1-4930-2464-3 • Hardback • September 2016 • $26.95 • (£17.95)
978-1-4930-2465-0 • eBook • September 2016 • $25.99 • (£17.95)
Tevi Troy is the founding president of the American Health Policy Institute, a former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a best-selling presidential historian. He is a frequent television and radio analyst, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, C-SPAN and The News Hour, among other outlets.

On August 3, 2007, Dr. Troy was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As Deputy Secretary, Dr. Troy was the chief operating officer of the largest civilian department in the federal government, with a budget of $716 billion and over 67,000 employees. In that position, he oversaw all operations, including Medicare, Medicaid, public health, medical research, food and drug safety, and disaster preparedness. He served as the regulatory policy officer for HHS, overseeing the development and approval of all HHS regulations and significant guidance. In addition, he led a number of initiatives at HHS, including combating bio-terrorism and public health emergency preparedness.

Dr. Troy has extensive White House experience, having served in several high-level positions over a five-year period, culminating in his service as Deputy Assistant and then Acting Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. At the White House, Dr. Troy also specialized in crisis management, creating intra-governmental consensus, and all aspects of policy development, including strategy, outreach and coalition building.

Dr. Troy has held high-level positions on Capitol Hill as well. From 1998 to 2000, Dr. Troy served as the Policy Director for Senator John Ashcroft. From 1996 to 1998, Troy was Senior Domestic Policy Adviser and later Domestic Policy Director for the House Policy Committee, chaired by Christopher Cox. Before serving on Capitol Hill, Dr. Troy was a Researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.

In addition to his senior level government work and health care expertise, Dr. Troy is also a presidential historian, making him one of only a handful of historians who has both studied the White House and worked there at the highest levels. His 2013 book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House (Regnery History), was a Washington Post bestseller. Dr. Troy is also the author of Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians? (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), and has written over 150 articles, for TheWall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, The New Republic, Commentary, Reason, Investor’s Business Daily, National Review, Washingtonian, The Weekly Standard, and other publications.

Dr. Troy has a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and an M.A and Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in Maryland with his wife Kami and four children.
Praise for What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted (Regnery, 2013):

“This well-researched and highly readable book is rich in such material, and Mr. Troy is one of those rare creatures seldom sighted in the wilds of the academic-cultural-literary complex — an accomplished scholar who is also a first-rate writer.”--John R. Coyne Jr., The Washington Times

“The book is an entertaining refresher course on the personalities who have filled the White House. Think of it is as beach reading for nerds, more U.S. News & World Report than Us Weekly.”--Betsy Woodruff, National Review

“It’s a must-read for junkies and campaign operatives.”--Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Troy's major contribution is his balanced assessment of how popular culture fundamentally transformed the political game in the last third of the 20th century.”--Robert W. Patterson, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Everyone should read everything that Tevi Troy writes, so it goes without saying that his new book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted, is worth your while.”--Yuval Levin, NRO: The Corner

Praise for Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians? by Tevi Troy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002):

“What’s perhaps most surprising about this book is that it took so long for someone to write it. . . . Now comes Tevi Troy to fill the void, and fill it he does.”--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“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

“Intellectuals and the American Presidency” is a lively tale and well told, and certainly not meant for academics only.”--Roger Fontaine,The Washington Times

“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

“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.”--Jason Bertsch, The Public Interest

“In this tightly-written book, Tevi Troy shows 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.”--John J. Pitney, Jr., Claremont Review of Books (Previous Edition Praise)

Leaders in every sector must do one thing: expect the unexpected. Crises cannot be predicted nor necessarily prevented, and sometimes leaders have to manage multiple crises at once. In Shall We Wake the President?, Tevi Troy provides very useful information for leaders in government and business, as well as personal preparation tips for families, based on his considerable management experience in the Executive Branch. The book is a good reminder that it isn’t enough to prepare for the next day; instead, leaders must be well equipped to handle a crisis from day one.
Dana Perino, Former Press Secretary to President George W. Bush and co-host of “The Five” on Fox News

The art of leadership emerges not during calm, but in crises—21st-century, premodern, episodic, multiple, sudden, simmering, solvable and existential—and never more so in the age of spreading nuclear weapons and instant communications. Tevi Troy’s fascinating new survey of how presidents dealt with disasters and near disasters is both historical and didactic: what has made a president in the past keep calm and yet forceful during an unforeseen challenge—and what can those in government and the public in their daily lives learn about dealing with catastrophes from our successful and not so successful Commanders-in Chief?
Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and author of the national bestsellers Carnage and Culture and A War Like No Other

Shall We Wake the President? is an entertaining and informative tour of how presidents have responded to disasters, and what our country, including future presidents, should do when disaster strikes again. They should be prepared! Dr. Troy will convince you that farsighted preparation can make our nation stronger and our citizens safer.
Tom Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvania and first Secretary of Homeland Security

I sure wish I’d had a copy of Tevi Troy’s Shall We Wake the President? when I served in the White House. His emphasis on the importance of communications in successful disaster planning and response is spot on, and he taught me a great deal about how past presidents have taken on the challenge of disaster communications.
Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary

Disasters, natural and otherwise, can dominate the actions of government leaders and shape dramatically the lives of a country's residents. Preparing for the worst is a high-priority for both. Using historical analysis and his own experiences from inside the Bush White House, Tevi Troy provides a useful guide for presidents and all Americans for every variety of disaster we have seen or might see.
Norman Ornstein, co-author of It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism

Drawing on history as well as his own years in government, Tevi Troy has brought us an excellent, cogent and sensible look at the looming national traumas that have become a crucial part of an American President’s responsibility and of the complex experience of being an American in the 21st century.
Michael Beschloss, Presidential Historian