100 books like War, Presidents, and Public Opinion

By John E. Mueller,

Here are 100 books that War, Presidents, and Public Opinion fans have personally recommended if you like War, Presidents, and Public Opinion. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

This is my go-to reference book about American public opinion on all things foreign policy. Holsti is one of the most important public opinion scholars of the 20th Century and arguably this is his most important book. I assign it in all of my undergraduate classes on the subject. He explains not only what the public believes about foreign policy—through case studies ranging from international trade to all major U.S. military conflicts in the post-World War II era—but also does a brilliant job of synthesizing decades of research on human information processing, learning, and ideological reasoning to explain in straightforward terms why people react to events the way they do. He also explains the (substantial) differences between the foreign policy views of elites and average citizens

By Ole Rudolf Holsti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the central issues in democratic theory is the proper role of public opinion in the conduct of international affairs. The capacity of the public to make informed judgments about these complex issues which are often far removed from their experience has been questioned. In addition, the impact of public opinion on foreign policy-making has been debated. In Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy Ole Holsti addresses these crucial issues using extensive data on public attitudes and preferences on international affairs. Holsti concludes that although the American public is not well informed about many aspects of foreign affairs, its…


Book cover of Projections of Power: Framing News, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

The mass media arguably play a critical intervening role between public opinion and foreign policy. Yet I’ve found that it is much harder to explain how the media, or public opinion, exert such influence than it is to determine what the public thinks or why. This book offers one of the most compelling explanations I’ve found for when and how the media can influence foreign policy, by serving as the intermediary between voters and their leaders. Importantly, Entman shows how media framing of events can influence public support for presidential foreign policy initiatives. It offers a comprehensive and persuasive delineation of the interplay between the media, the public, and political leaders, which I teach every year to my students. 

By Robert M. Entman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Projections of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To succeed in foreign policy, U.S. presidents have to sell their versions or framings of political events to the news media and to the public. But since the end of the Cold War, journalists have increasingly resisted presidential views, even offering their own spin on events. What, then, determines whether the media will accept or reject the White House perspective? And what consequences does this new media environment have for policymaking and public opinion?

To answer these questions, Robert M. Entman develops a powerful new model of how media framing works-a model that allows him to explain why the media…


Book cover of In Time of War: Understanding American Public Opinion from World War II to Iraq

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

This is one of the most comprehensive books on the question of how Americans think about war. Berinsky reviews public opinion on every major war since World War II. He persuasively refutes most existing explanations for public opinion regarding these conflicts, while showing that Americans’ responses to foreign policy events are not really unique to foreign policy. Rather, Americans mostly respond to wars the way they respond to most other political issues. One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the vast trove of previously unknown public opinion data from World War II that Berinsky uncovers. This is a unique window into one of America’s defining military conflicts. We learn that, contrary to the received wisdom, Americans responded to World War II in much the same way as they did during more recent conflicts.

By Adam J. Berinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Time of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From World War II to the war in Iraq, periods of international conflict seem like unique moments in U.S. political history - but when it comes to public opinion, they are not. To make this ground breaking revelation, In "Time of War" explodes conventional wisdom about American reactions to World War II, as well as the more recent conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Adam J. Berinsky argues that public response to these crises has been shaped less by their defining characteristics - such as what they cost in lives and resources - than by the…


Book cover of Faces of Internationalism: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy

Matthew A. Baum Author Of Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age

From my list on public opinion and foreign policy.

Who am I?

I started my career in Washington D.C., where my first job involved conducting strategy meetings with senior civilian and military policy officials regarding potential military conflicts around the world. At the time I was struck by the extent to which senior policymakers worried about whether they would be able to garner and sustain public support for U.S. overseas military operations. This concern often dominated our meetings. It ultimately set me on my course as a scholar, where much of my work has focused on trying to understand what average people think about the world, why they believe what they do, and whether and how their attitudes affect leaders’ decision-making in crisis situations.

Matthew's book list on public opinion and foreign policy

Matthew A. Baum Why did Matthew love this book?

This book is a classic in the genre. Wittkopf develops a hugely influential, yet surprisingly simple and straightforward, ideological map to explain how Americans view the world. He finds that typical Americans are generally consistent over time in their reactions to American uses of force abroad, depending on their foreign policy ideology. From responses to a series of poll questions, Wittkopf classifies people as internationalists, accommodationists, hard-liners, or isolationists. This is a framework that I regularly teach to my students, as I find it extremely valuable in explaining how Americans have responded to U.S. foreign policy actions, as well as the apparent differences between the attitudes of leaders and different segments of the general public.

By Eugene R. Wittkopf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faces of Internationalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Faces of Internationalism, Eugene R. Wittkopf examines the changing nature of public attitudes toward American foreign policy in the post-Vietnam era and the role that public opinion plays in the American foreign policymaking process. Drawing on new data-four mass and four elite opinion surveys undertaken by the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations from 1974 to 1986-combined with sophisticated analysis techniques, Wittkopf offers a pathbreaking study that addresses the central question of the relationship of a democracy to its foreign policy.
The breakdown of the "consensus" approach to American foreign policy after the Cold War years has become the subject…


Book cover of Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East Since 1945

Lauren Turek Author Of To Bring the Good News to All Nations: Evangelical Influence on Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Relations

From my list on the history of religion in U.S. foreign relations.

Who am I?

I am an associate professor of history at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, where I teach courses on modern United States history, U.S. foreign relations, and public history, direct our minor in museum studies, and direct the Mellon Initiative for Undergraduate Research in the Arts and Humanities. I am particularly interested in how domestic culture, ideology, and values have informed how the United States has engaged with the world around it. My recent work has explored the influence of conservative religious groups in foreign affairs, and I’m at work on a new book about national security and the congressional debates that unfolded over foreign aid after World War II.

Lauren's book list on the history of religion in U.S. foreign relations

Lauren Turek Why did Lauren love this book?

McAlister’s book is one I return to time and again because it so beautifully illustrates that U.S. foreign relations history is bigger and broader than just the story of policymaking. McAlister is an expert at dissecting and explaining American culture, particularly religious culture. In this stimulating read, she uses films, television shows, and other media as key texts that reveal how post-World War II Americans portrayed and understood the Middle East—and what those portrayals can tell us about the United States’ vision for itself as a global power during the Cold War. In so doing, she reminds us of how much events abroad can shape and reshape political culture at home. Her chapter on the 1967 Arab-Israeli War also highlights how conceptions of the Middle East played into domestic racial and religious tensions at home, particularly between American Jews and African Americans, while her chapter on the 1979 Iranian Hostage…

By Melani McAlister,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Epic Encounters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Epic Encounters" examines how popular culture has shaped the ways Americans define their 'interests' in the Middle East. In this innovative book - now brought up-to-date to include 9/11 and the Iraq war - Melani McAlister argues that U.S. foreign policy, while grounded in material and military realities, is also developed in a cultural context. American understandings of the region are framed by narratives that draw on religious belief, news media accounts, and popular culture. This remarkable and pathbreaking book skillfully weaves lively and accessible readings of film, media, and music with a rigorous analysis of U.S. foreign policy, race…


Book cover of A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

Lynn Griffin Author Of Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox

From my list on historical romance to curl up on the sofa with.

Who am I?

They say your childhood shapes your life. By the time I reached thirteen, work began to teach me how to survive. After working a wide range of jobs, I ended up teaching students aged from fifteen to fifty. It was a joy. They opened my eyes. They were my inspiration. They kept me writing around the paid job. I was there to teach them, but I also learned from them. They gave me another special gift. To share their truly amazing stories with you.   

Lynn's book list on historical romance to curl up on the sofa with

Lynn Griffin Why did Lynn love this book?

This story captured my attention because of the period, and drama that explodes in and behind the scenes. It intertwines the lives and sagas of ordinary families and ordinary lives. I love to read and write about characters that have depth, believability, and the all-time favourite, coincidence. I found myself immersed immediately.  

The world is at war. I learned how middle-class Harry Chase and his working-class girlfriend Lois Bennett fought against the Blackshirts, that was until Harry headed to Warsaw as a translator. Lois is busy with her factory work, whilst managing her pacifist father. Harry promises to write but soon finds himself conflicted as he has a Polish sweetheart, Kasia. What becomes of Lois? I was delighted when this book was turned into a drama production by the BBC. Though great, I stand by the book. It is a great read. 

By Amanda Foreman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

10 BEST BOOKS • THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • 2011
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The New Yorker • Chicago Tribune • The Economist • Nancy Pearl, NPR • Bloomberg.com • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly
 
In this brilliant narrative, Amanda Foreman tells the fascinating story of the American Civil War—and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle. Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first…


Book cover of Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship

Martha A. Ackelsberg Author Of Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women

From my list on anarchism and revolution in the Spanish Civil War.

Who am I?

I have been studying and writing about, anarchism, gender, and the Spanish Civil War for almost 4 decades. I first explored what it would mean to organize a society without formal institutions of authority; and, as part of that research, I looked at how anarcho-syndicalist organizations related to governmental institutions and the struggle against fascism in Spain. I then engaged in a multi-year investigation of the social revolution that occurred in the midst of the ensuing Civil War and, in particular, the activities of the anarchist women’s organization, Mujeres Libres. Through the research for my book, Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women, I was captivated by the extraordinary strength and enthusiasm of those women, and committed myself to telling their stories in ways that would be relevant to contemporary readers.

Martha's book list on anarchism and revolution in the Spanish Civil War

Martha A. Ackelsberg Why did Martha love this book?

This is a now-classic essay that explores the ways mainstream news media (and subsequent academic studies) downplayed and/or misrepresented the revolutionary nature of the Spanish Civil War. Although the war began as a result of a failed military coup d’etat against a legally-elected republican government, it came to be seen simply as a battle between communists (identified with the government) and supporters of order (who were actually the fascist rebels!). Drawing parallels with the ways U.S. media represented the revolutionary forces in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, Chomsky makes clear just how significant that misrepresentation became—not just at the time, but in the continuing historiography of the Spanish Civil War.

By Noam Chomsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship is Chomsky's powerful indictment of a liberal intelligentsia that provided self-serving arguments for war in Vietnam, legitimizing U.S. commitment to autocratic rule, to intervention in Asia and, ultimately, the "pacification" of millions. Over thirty years after their first printing, these are prophetic words, as today America effects "regime change" in Iraq and an increasingly boisterous militarism around the globe. Included here is Chomsky's classic counter-analysis of the Spanish Civil War as a revolutionary war from below, as he lays bare the hostility of even liberal scholarly elites to engage in mass movements and social change, revealing…


Book cover of The Nixon Tapes: 1973

Geoff Shepard Author Of The Nixon Conspiracy: Watergate and the Plot to Remove the President

From my list on recent books about Richard Nixon.

Who am I?

I joined the Nixon administration as a White House Fellow upon Harvard Law School graduation in 1969, so I wasn’t part of Nixon’s 1968 campaign. I served for five years, rising to associate director of the Domestic Council and ending as deputy counsel on Nixon’s Watergate defense team. Given my personal involvement at the time, coupled with extensive research over the past fifteen years, I’m among the foremost authorities on the Watergate scandal, but essentially unknowledgeable about people and events preceding the Nixon presidency. My five recommended books have nicely fill that gap – principally by friends and former colleagues who were actually “in the arena” during those heady times. 

Geoff's book list on recent books about Richard Nixon

Geoff Shepard Why did Geoff love this book?

Because of the secret taping system that recorded Nixon’s conversations from February 1971 to the system’s exposure in July 1973, President Nixon’s time in office is better documented than that of any other president, before or since. But the system itself was hardly ideal for researchers. Separate recorders were placed in the Oval Office, as well as in the Cabinet Room, the President’s EOB hide-away office, and even in Aspen Lodge at Camp David. The result is some 3,700 hours of recordings, almost haphazardly located on dozens of four-inch tape reels. Professor Luke Nichter is the nation’s foremost authority on these tapes, hosting his own website. This book, along with the earlier volume on 1972 tapes, does a masterful job of sorting out and analyzing these presidential conversations. The result is an incredibly helpful account of presidential decision-making, with first-hand detail unmatched by any other presidency. 

By Douglas Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nixon Tapes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A revealing selection . . . [a] heroic service.” — New York Times Book Review

“Endlessly fascinating . . . Essential for students of late-twentieth-century history and the American presidency.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[A] monumental effort . . . Astonishing.” — Austin American-Statesman

Between 1971 and 1973, President Richard Nixon’s voice-activated tape recorders captured 3,700 hours of conversations. Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter’s intrepid two-volume transcription and annotation of the highlights of this essential archive provides an unprecedented and fascinating window into the inner workings of a momentous presidency.
                The Nixon Tapes: 1973 tells the concluding chapter of the story,…


Book cover of A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century

S. L. Smith Author Of Pray the Rosary with Saint John Paul II

From my list on the life of Pope St. John Paul II.

Who am I?

Scott L. Smith, Jr. is a Catholic author, attorney, and theologian. He is the author of Pray the Rosary with Saint John Paul II, the St. Joseph Consecration for Children and Families, along with Fr. Donald Calloway, a new translation of St. Louis de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. He contributes regularly to his blog, The Scott Smith Blog, and is the co-host of the Catholic Nerds podcast.

S. L.'s book list on the life of Pope St. John Paul II

S. L. Smith Why did S. L. love this book?

I love reading about how the strength of conviction, not strength of arms, defeated Communism. The work of these two leaders, John Paul II and President Reagan, was as consequential as that of Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt. A lot of their story is known, but a lot remained unknown... until now. 

This is a fascinating portrait of two world leaders that survived assassination. It is a strange coincidence, don't you think? They did. They believed that they were spared by God as part of the "DP," as Reagan spoke of it: the "Divine Plan" to rid the world of Soviet Communism. It is a fight they have passed down to us, as well.  

By Paul Kengor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Pope and a President as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even as historians credit Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II with hastening the end of the Cold War, they have failed to recognize the depth or significance of the bond that developed between the two leaders. Acclaimed scholar and bestselling author Paul Kengor changes that. In this fascinating book, he reveals a singular bond-which included a spiritual connection between the Catholic pope and the Protestant president-that drove the two men to confront what they knew to be the great evil of the twentieth century: Soviet communism. Reagan and John Paul II almost didn't have the opportunity to forge this…


Book cover of The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951: A Nonconformist History of Our Times

James N. Butcher Author Of Korea: Traces of a Forgotten War

From my list on the Korean War from someone who served there.

Who am I?

James Neal Butcher is a professor emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota. At age 17, he enlisted in the US Army during the Korean War. He served 2 years in a parachute infantry division (82nd Airborne). He volunteered for service in the Korean War and served one year as an infantry soldier in the 17th Infantry Regiment during the war including the battles for Jane Russell Hill in October 1952 and Pork Chop Hill in April 1953. In 2013 he published a memoir of his early life and his military experience Korea: Traces of a forgotten war. 

James' book list on the Korean War from someone who served there

James N. Butcher Why did James love this book?

The Hidden History of the Korean War by I. F. Stone was originally published in 1952 during the Korean War and republished in 1970 at a time in which the US was engaging in the Vietnam War. This controversial book provides viewpoints that are not widely accepted historically. The author raises questions about the origin of the Korean War and makes the case that the United States government manipulated the United Nations and was critical that the U.S. military and South Korean governments extended the war by undermining the efforts to complete the peace talks.

By I.F. Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hidden History of the Korean War, 1950-1951 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reexamines the causes and course of the Korean War, discusses U.S. war propaganda, and analyzes U.S. foreign policy


5 book lists we think you will like!

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