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Unmaking the Presidency

By Andrew Lovett-Barron
Published in Reading
January 19, 2021
1 min read

Unmaking the Presidency is a book by former NSA lawyer turned Lawfare scholar/pundit Susan Hennessy and Lawfare Blog founder Benjamin Wittes. It’s a critical dive into the constitutional superstructure and the cultural norms that have defined the American presidency since George Washington first took the role in 1789. It does this through the prism that one-term President Donald Trump cast upon the presidency.

I personally found this book helpful to understand the overlapping system failures that have come to exemplify the past four years, as well as the bulwarks that actually were maintained. It also has done a good job of balancing the historical context — such as how the volume of presidential speech has increased over the whole century, not just recently — with the genuinely new, such as the unfiltered access that Trump has to his base through Twitter. It’s a book that I think is desperately worth reading today, as we move into the Biden administration, because regardless of who Biden may be as a politician and individual, he is moving into an office that was not the same as it was four years ago.

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Andrew Lovett-Barron

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