Wounded Titans (Paperback)

American Presidents and the Perils of Power

By Max Lerner, Robert Schmuhl (Editor), David Greenberg (Foreword by)

Arcade Publishing, 9781628727678, 464pp.

Publication Date: June 6, 2017



"Readers who miss the magisterial pronunciamentos of the late Max Lerner . . . will relish this collection of Lerner's writings on a subject that preoccupied him." --Booklist

Max Lerner taught generations of Americans about their government. For almost half a century, the office of the presidency preoccupied his prodigious energies and unparalleled expertise. Lerner not only wrote about the men who inhabited the Oval Office during that time, he knew them personally, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton--and he knew what made them tick. Here are Lerner's complete writings on the presidency and American presidents.

Lerner believed that the nature of the office transforms presidents into titans, but wounded titans, bowed and sometimes broken by forces, fate, destiny, or history, that lie beyond their control. Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court; Truman's efforts to manhandle the steel industry; Eisenhower's belief that he could control the military-industrial complex; Kennedy's hyperactive libido and recklessness; Nixon's conviction he could manipulate political process: every president has had immortal yearnings, and the office that inflated his pride also enlarged his flaws.

With a new foreword, Wounded Titans contains Lerner's classic essays on the presidency and its development as well as his most famous presidential portraits and the best of his campaign journalism. Learned, wise, illuminating, entertaining, both timely and timeless, Wounded Titans is as large in spirit and scope as the American presidency itself.

About the Author

Max Lerner is the author of, among many other works, America as a Civilization, The Unfinished Country, and Wrestling with the Angel. For the last twenty years of his life he wrote a highly respected, widely syndicated newspaper column. He died on June 5, 1992. Robert Schmuhl is chairman of the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and author of Ireland's Exiled Children: America and the Easter Rising and Thomas Jefferson: America's Philosopher-King. He lives in South Bend, Indiana.