Book Review of Where They Stand Essay example

Submitted By modoodle
Words: 736
Pages: 3

Mohammed Farooqui
10/26/12
Block 4A In Where They Stand by Robert W. Merry, the author examines the phenomenon of the rating game of the presidents. The Rating Game is basically the process of ranking the presidents in history. In the book, Merry advocates the two serious ways of determining presidential success are through the eyes of voters and historians. He also believes the judgment of history intertwines with the perception of the electorate, and assesses each category individually. The most successful presidents he identifies as the Leaders of Destiny, whereas the worst are considered failures. Though, throughout the book, Merry identifies executives, who raise debate on how they should be viewed in the rating game. In the book, Merry describes the collective judgment of historians to be “a substantial body of thought from largely distinguished scholars over a significant period of time (Merry
52).” Although there may be some fluctuations here and there along the course of history, their views all bear the same correlation, according to him. The survey conducted by Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. in 1948 started the phenomenon of the Rating Game among Americans. This survey motivated many more to conduct their own examinations. Though, in the 1,180 responses that were administered by experts, the results were still analogous. Even those who deliberately changed the content of their surveys found the results unanimously similar, as this was the case with all the experts. The author believes that the voters have a crucial impact on the incumbent presidency. He says that they are the boss of the president. The electorate just does not rank presidents when contributing their thoughts after the four year period. “They simply turn their thumbs up or thumbs down on the incumbent or incumbent party based on what they feel the country needed and what it got” (Merry 205). The voters then exercise their powers of deciding the incumbent’s fate. Comfortably, they move on into the future, seeking more opportunities to weed out more failures. An example of this would be George Washington, who was renowned by the electorate. Washington was also a Leader of Destiny, one of the types presidents Merry goes in depth with. The author describes a variety of presidents throughout the book. He writes about failures as well as those rare Leaders of Destiny, who “transformed the country’s political landscape and set it upon a new course” (Merry 287). An example of these renowned people would be Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery entirely, and kept the nation united, even when it seemed impossible. Merry also goes in depth with another classification of presidents, who bring up arguments in terms of how they should be viewed in the Rating Game. An example of this sort of executive would be President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who is consistently…