Elusive Victories

Elusive Victories coverElusive Victories: The American Presidency at War is a superb work of history and political analysis making the surprising argument that American presidents have repeatedly failed at war. Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center professor Andrew Polsky argues that true success in war is defined not by battlefield triumphs but by whether it accomplishes a nation’s political objectives; even in wars we consider victories, including the Civil War and both World Wars, presidents have often failed to achieve their key political goals, especially the kind of peace they sought. Elusive Victories offers a penetrating analysis of the multiple dimensions of wartime presidential leadership and an insightful explanation for why presidents fail. Pulitzer Prize-winning historial James M. McPherson says, “In this provocative and incisive study of six presidents as wartime commanders in chief, Andrew Polsky demonstrates that it is much easier to start a war than to bring it to a successful conclusion.” International relations scholar Andrew J. Bacevich says “Polsky’s cautionary tale is as timely as it is important.” (Oxford University Press)