The office of the President has been inevitably shaped by the forty-four personalities who have occupied the position. Even entire historical periods are often identified by the serving presidents who dominated them such as the “Age of Jackson,” the “Lincoln years,” the “New Deal era” of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the “Reagan Revolution” – a reflection of the power of the office and the influence of the individual occupying it. (Michael Nelson, Guide to the Presidency and the Executive Branch)
As we move to the post-convention phase of the presidential election, the following SAGE reference books make excellent resources. Continuing the tradition of CQ Press's other major reference works, the material is descriptive, factual, unbiased, and easy to understand. For readers who want to delve further into the scholarly literature, included notes and selected bibliographies show the way. Here’s a short description of several works that may be beneficial in the coming weeks.
These books can be found in SAGE Knowledge, and on the main Online Resource page under Stats & Government.
To view these books, paste the DOI into the SAGE Knowledge search bar.
Hershey, M. R. (Ed.) (2014). Guide to U.S. political parties Washington, DC: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781483346465
“Parties are not only the most durable features of modern democracies but also among the most despised.” doi: 10.4135/9781483346465.n1
This one-volume reference presents the major approaches to the study of U.S. political parties and the national party system, describing the organization and behavior of U.S. political parties in thematic, narrative chapters that clarify party origins, historical development, and current operations. Thematic chapters explore how and why the U.S. parties have changed over time, including major organizational transformations and behavioral changes among candidates and party activists.
Nelson, M. (Ed.) (2012). Guide to the Presidency and the Executive Branch, 5th Ed. Washington, DC: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781452234298
By design and execution, Guide to the Presidency and Executive Branch reflects the importance of the individual lives of the presidents. The book is laced with descriptions of every president's accomplishments and failures, virtues and foibles. Even a quick glance will attest to the detailed information the Guide provides on each president. Illustrated biographies of every president, vice president and first lady are presented. The Appendix section (called Back Matter in the SAGE database) supplements the text with documents, tables, and charts. Included are excerpts from more than forty documents highly significant to the presidency, with explanatory headnotes. The tables list, among other things, electoral votes for all presidential elections and cabinet members from the administration of George Washington through that of Barack Obama.
Peters, G., Woolley, J. T. & Nelson, M. (Eds.) (2013). CQ Press: American Government A to Z Series: The presidency A to Z Washington, DC: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781452234311
The Presidency A to Z is an invaluable tool for understanding the presidency, both historically and today and for appraising how it and the executive branch have responded to the challenges facing the nation. It provides readers with quick information and in-depth background on the presidency through a comprehensive encyclopedia of more than 300 easy-to-read entries. Readers will find: biographies of every president and many others important to the office; explanations of broader concepts and powers relating to the presidency; and discussions of relations with Congress, the Supreme Court, the bureaucracy, political parties, the media, interest groups and the public.
Ragsdale, L. (2014). Vital statistics on the presidency Washington, DC: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781452299914
This book presents a comprehensive statistical description of the American presidency. It offers a perspective on the presidency that de-emphasizes the uniqueness of individual presidents and focuses instead on the presidency as an institution. The author highlights continuities and patterns that can be observed from one president to the next. These patterns characterize the presidency as an elected office and offer an explanation of the organization of the Executive Office of the President, its relations with the public, its policy decisions, and its dealings with other institutions. Chapter 2 covers the presidential selection process: party convention history, nomination methods, television coverage, and convention results (10.4135/9781452299914.n3). Chapter 3 focuses on how money, the media and polling have shaped contemporary campaigns (10.4135/9781452299914.n4). From Chapter 4 to the end of the book, the presidency post- election is covered: policymaking, diplomacy, public perception and interaction with other institutions.