Washington, DC : Brookings Institution, c1996.
xii, 148 p. ; 24 cm

Since the early 1970s Stephen Hess has been honored by journalists and scholars for his ability to explain the complexities of the modern presidency. A Washington insider who served on two White House staffs, worked on Capitol Hill, and was a U.S. representative to the United Nations, he has been hailed by the Washington Post as "an eminently sensible man" with "some eminently sensible advice to presidents." Now as he celebrates his twenty-fifth anniversary at the Brookings Institution, he presents a collection of his best essays on the office of the president and the men who have held it.

In 1974 Brookings published Hess's The Presidential Campaign, critically acclaimed as entertaining, thoughtful, and provocative. The book examined the recurring patterns of presidential campaigns and the nature of contenders for the nation's top office. In 1976 Hess turned his attention to the executive branch and produced his most popular and influential work, Organizing the Presidency. The book not only captured the attention of presidential scholars and the news media, but also impressed then President-elect Jimmy Carter and led to a series of transition papers for future administrations. Over the years, both volumes have been updated and reissued.

Now Presidents & the Presidency collects parts of these books as well as observations that were first presented in university lectures, magazine articles, and newspaper columns. Among the essays selected are "Why Great Men Are Not Chosen Presidents: Lord Bryce Revisited," an incisive examination of the presidential selection process; "Don't Just Stand There, Do Something," a humorous account of how presidents counteract falling popularity ratings; "Nixon in Exile, 1961-1968," a reflection on Hess's relationship with the man who would soon become president; and "Toward a More Functional Presidency," an essay written after Watergate that rethinks the appropriate function of the presidency and outlines the job description.

In studying the presidency, Hess maintains that the challenge is to sort out which characteristics are special to the occupant of the office and which transcend the individual. Over the years he has mastered the challenge and, with great insight and wit, taught others how to study the subject.