Book Review: Trial and Triumph: Presidential Power in the Second Term (Alfred J. Zacher): AH


TRIAL AND TRIUMPH: PRESIDENTIAL POWER IN THE SECOND TERM
by Alfred J. Zacher (Presidential Press, 349 pages, $24.95). The first attempt to study U.S. presidents’ second terms, Zacher’s work examines the political life of 17 of the 18 incumbents that have been re-elected to office; William McKinley (1843-1901) is excluded because he was assassinated just seven months into his second term. The author demonstrates that for some–Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85), Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), and Richard M. Nixon (1913-94)–the second four years in the White House became a time of extreme stress, while for others–Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and Ronald Reagan (1911- )–the second term was a period of great achievement. Zacher outlines ten criteria that make a president’s second term a success and accordingly rates the effectiveness of each two-term president.


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