In This Review

Presidential War Power
Presidential War Power
By Louis Fisher
University Press of Kansas, 1995, 245 pp

Fisher, a senior researcher at the Congressional Research Service, believes that the discretion allowed modern presidents in the use of military power would have come as an unpleasant surprise to the framers of the Constitution. He deplores what he occasionally refers to as monarchical tendencies in the White House; indeed, he even objects to assertions that the president is "pre-eminent in foreign affairs." Three-quarters of the book deals with the postwar period, but in light of the author's fundamental contention it is odd that the chapter on the Constitution itself is only 12 pages long, and that Lincoln's breathtaking assertion of executive power during the Civil War merits only some three pages of text. The author relies chiefly on court opinions and public papers of the presidents. The result is a clearly argued and well-documented work, written from the point of view of a student of constitutional law, not a scholar or practitioner of foreign policy and international relations.