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Professor's new book examines past presidents

By Rebecca Wool

Meena Bose, Chair of the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, teamed up with Congressional Quarterly and The New York Times and wrote "The New York Times on the Presidency: 1853-2008." It is the first in a series of reference books.

The book examines the presidencies of Franklin Pierce through the current U.S. administration. The book will be updated with a chapter on Barack Obama's presidency in the years to come. The New York Times chose these 29 presidents because the newspaper was founded in 1851, just a few years before President Pierce took office.

After the editors of both the Congressional Quarterly and The New York Times met, Bose was approached and asked to join the project. Bose has contributed to past reference guides and was selected to write the series due to her wealth of knowledge about the presidency.

Congressional Quarterly and The New York Times wanted the book to come out in time for the 2008 election cycle, and planned to commence during the summer of 2007. However, the book was not started until September 2007 and the process that Bose went through in writing the book was quite complex.

Each chapter is dedicated to a different president and also contains between five and 15 New York Times articles dealing with key events that took place during their presidency. Not only did Bose write the introduction to each chapter, but she also wrote the introduction to each article as well. After eight months of research and late nights, the book was finished in May 2008.

Professor Bose provided her personal insight into the context of the book. She described common attributes that distinguished the great presidents from the average, adding that "they all had good political instincts and an appreciation for words."

"They had an idea of what they wanted to accomplish, were adept at conveying their views and knew how to make compromises," said Bose.

Stu Vincent, assistant vice president for University Relations, said that he hopes her new book will enhance her growing reputation as a presidential scholar.

"Positive publicity for Dr. Bose and her new book will also help to highlight the University's place as a center for presidential studies," he said.

Professor Bose said she would love to use the book in her Political Science 121 class, which is focused around the American Presidency, but that the book will primarily be used as a library reference guide.

Bose also said that if she could give advice to President-elect Obama, she would advise him to focus on the present and the past, as well as to focus foremost on the nation's needs.

"A great president has the ability to move beyond the immediate present and see the long term effects of their policies. What might be appealing right now might not be in the best interest in the long run. He must have long term goals and take steps to achieve those goals," she said.

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