5 Must-Read Books for the 2016 Election

The following Cambria Press publications have received outstanding reviews not only from top academic journals but also scholars and practitioners. Select quotes and excerpts from the book reviews are provided below.

#APSA2015 #2016Election Cambria Press publication review author academic publisher

These publications will be on display at the Cambria Press booth at the American Political Science (APSA) annual meeting next week .

1. Jockeying for the American Presidency by Lara M. Brown

Quote from the book:

It is about understanding how presidential aspirants turn political conditions and exogenous events to their favor in order to promote their ambitions.”

Book Reviews:
“Brown’s extensive analysis yields a variety of new and important findings …
this volume contains much of value for scholars of the presidency and presidential elections.” – Presidential Studies Quarterly

“Recommended.” – CHOICE


2. Saving American Elections
by Anthony Gierzynski

Quote from the book:

“The past afflictions of discrimination and corruption did not just go away on their own, after all; they required legal and even constitutional changes that were driven by popular movements. The modern afflictions affecting US elections are no different.”

Book Reviews:
“One of the more interesting prescriptions involves a new civic curriculum to teach the public to think of elections as a way to participate in community decisions and less as an individual expression of opinion. … Recommended. All readership levels.” – CHOICE


3. Presidential Electors and
the Electoral College
by Robert M. Alexander

Quote from the book:

“Very little is known about presidential electors … That they are responsible for ultimately selecting the country’s only nationally elected figure has created great controversy over time.”

Book Reviews:

“A solid, well-composed work of research, an important, if not definitive, study of the subject. Recommended.” – CHOICE

“Valuable and much needed … A serious contribution.”
– Tom Cronin, Colorado College


4. Tough times for the President
by Ryan Barilleaux & Jewerl Maxwell

Quote from the book:

“The focus on presidential leadership and greatness has had significant consequences for the chief executive and the way Americans understand the presidency. It has led to unrealistic expectations …”

Book Reviews:
“A fascinating, challenging, and important book. … given the frequency of tough times, it behooves a president to explore the alternative approaches to governing outlined in this book.” – Presidential Studies Quarterly


5. Jimmy Carter and the Water Wars
by Scott A. Frisch & Sean Q. Kelly

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Quote from the book:

“Jimmy Carter campaigned and won the presidency as an anti-Washington outsider who was especially critical of Congress, rankling many members of Congress. … Balancing the budget was possible, he argued, by reducing wasteful congressional spending.”

Book Reviews:

“An important study of presidential influence in Congress.”
– John Anthony Maltese, University of Georgia


These books will be on display at the Cambria Press booth at the 2015 American Political Science Association (APSA) annual meeting in San Francisco next week.

Use coupon code APSA2015 by October 13 (the date of the first Democratic debate) to get 30%off all hardcover titles + free shipping.

For a summary of books and reviews in the PIPPA series, see this from Cambria Press.

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Award-winning authors Scott A. Frisch and Sean Q. Kelly will be WPSA next week!

Cambria Press Scott Frisch Sean Kelly

Scott A. Frisch and Sean Q. Kelly are not only coauthors of the award-winning Jimmy Carter and the Water Wars, they are also the editors of the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America book series.

Cambria Press authors and series editors Scott A. Frisch and Sean Q. Kelly will be at the WPSA annual conference in Seattle next week. Discussing politics to the extreme, their WPSA panels will be exciting ones that attendees won’t want to miss! Their award-winning book Jimmy Carter and the Water Wars, as well as their highly praised book Doing Archival Research in Political Science are just a few of their books. In addition to their own works, Dr. Frisch and Dr. Kelly have also helped bring forth other important books in political science with their Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America book series. The series has produced books which have earned excellent journal reviews, including WPSA’s program chair Victoria Farrar-Myers‘s book with Michael Genovese, Corruption and American Politics. Here are just a few of the titles in the series:

These titles will be at the Cambria Press display in the WPSA exhibit hall. Visit the display to browse these great books and don’t forget to pick up an order form with a 40% discount for you and your library. See the Cambria Press ad in the WPSA program too for the discount code! Cambria Press will also giving out a limited supply of complimentary Political-Science Research Matters bags, which were made specially in response to the NSF funding cuts. Pick one up at the Cambria Press display and carry it around at (and after) the conference to drive home the message that political-science research matters!

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Which 2016 presidential candidate will have the edge?

Cambria Press American Presidency

Jockeying for the American Presidency

It is only the summer of 2013, but the presidential race is on! There is no question that the presidential aspirants will need to work with the media to get their game on, but what are the characteristics that will give one candidate the edge over the others? Dr. Lara M. Brown, author of the extremely well-reviewed Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants (Cambria Press, 2010) has been the go-to expert on these issues. She rightly declares that “our politics are filled with the beginnings of stories that are begging for deeper investigation and more fact-finding. News, not spin or entertainment, need to be revived if our public space is to flourish in this era of Internet democracy.” Read her recent insightful article on this.

Check this book at the Cambria Press booth (810) at 2013 APSA annual meeting in Chicago in just two weeks!

Recommend this Cambria Press book today! There are affordable Cambria Press e-book versions of this title too.

Professors, if you would like to use this for your class, refer your librarian to the Cambria Press Desk Copy Plus Program that helps you get free versions for your students!

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Tough Times for the President!

Cambria Press is proud to announce that Tough Times for the President: Political Adversity and the Sources of Executive Power by Ryan J. Barilleaux and Jewerl Maxwell is now available. Needless to say, the title sums up what is in store for President Barack Obama. This book is in the Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy in America book series (Series editors: Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly).

The following is a transcript for the Q&A session Professor Maxwell kindly provided for Cambria Press.

Stay tuned for another discussion by the authors on their take on how President Obama can navigate these tough times!

QUESTION: Why did you decide to write this book?

RESPONSE: We decided to write Tough Times for the President because of a discussion in a graduate seminar on the presidency conducted by Dr. Barilleaux.  As the class examined Richard Neustadt’s persuasive paradigm during a period in President George W. Bush’s presidency when adversity had struck, we recognized that many (and perhaps most) presidents face significantly adverse circumstances at some point in their presidency.  Upon further examination, we began to take note of a pattern that while these adverse circumstances result in considerable obstacles for presidential leadership, they do not cripple the president.  On the contrary, we were able to point to several individual presidents who overcame their adverse circumstances.

Consequently, we chose to embark on a research project that would identify the most adverse circumstances modern presidents have faced and how they responded to such periods of adversity.  What strategies were successful in overcoming such circumstances?  What powers remained central to presidential leadership during these “tough times?”  This initial research agenda resulted in a conference paper that we authored with Marc Bacarach that examined periods of adversity within the presidencies of Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.  As we suspected, while each president faced significantly difficult circumstances, none of the cases indicated paralysis within the Oval Office.  We concluded that while adversity makes it more difficult for presidents to succeed in certain areas (most notably in the legislative arena), presidents often exhibit success through unilateral actions or through foreign policy initiatives.  At the conference, colleagues encouraged us to continue to pursue this research agenda.

In addition to the positive response we received from other presidency scholars, we further witnessed the adversity faced by President George W. Bush, and eventually President Obama.  As we continued to dig deeper, we soon realized that with the exception of John F. Kennedy, at some point while serving in the White House, every president since World War II faced a period we call “tough times.”  Therefore, we determined to identify the critical lessons that students of the presidency can learn from presidential adversity.

QUESTION: What do you hope your readers take away from your book?

RESPONSE:  Presidents may be limited in periods of adversity, but these circumstances do not result in periods of paralysis.  While Neustadt’s emphasis on persuasive powers may be useful for chief executives in certain situations, we believe leverage is the key to understanding presidential power.  We recognize, while promising circumstances like landslide elections, high public approval ratings, and unified government will likely enhance a president’s influence in Washington, D.C., these circumstances do not define his power.  The chief executive’s leverage in any situation is a function of constitutional/legal, institutional, political, and personal resources that can be applied toward the advancement of the president’s goals, taking into account the risks, obstacles, and opportunities presented by the situation.  In some cases, the president’s leverage may be great, in others quite limited; but in all cases it is a result of how the power resources of the presidency can be applied in a specific set of circumstances.  Seeing presidential power as situational leverage helps us to gain a more accurate understanding of the institution and those who have occupied it.  It helps us to understand why, even in tough times, some presidents have been able to revive their political fortunes.  It also helps to highlight the role that unilateral powers play in undergirding presidential efforts to persuade or even compel others to cooperate.

QUESTION: What other research do you believe is needed on this topic?

RESPONSE:  In our concluding chapter, we identify several area of future research.  It would be helpful for scholars to further examine the components of presidential leverage that we identified.  It would be helpful for additional research to explore the contextual factors that affect presidential decisions concerning when and how to employ power resources.   It would be wise for presidency scholars to move beyond simply studying the roots of power and explore the exercise of that power.  In particular, scholars should examine the ends to which presidents apply leverage.

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Recommend this book to your library! Librarians can order the book directly from Cambria Press or they can order through their preferred academic book wholesaler (Cambria Press is on the approval list of premier wholesalers like YBP).

Be sure to check out the Cambria Press Desk Copy Plus Program for course adoptions whereby professors receive a FREE hardcover and students get FREE e-book access of the title when the library purchases the Platinum E-book edition!

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