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Dark Directions
Journey into Darkness
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Supernatural Murders
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The Glory and the BurdenThe Glory and the Burden

The American Presidency from FDR to Trump

Robert Schmuhl

Narrated by Peter Lerman

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Notre Dame Press

The Glory and the Burden: The American Presidency from FDR to Trump is a timely examination of the state of the American presidency and the forces that have shaped it over the past seventy-five years, with an emphasis on the dramatic changes that have taken place within the institution and to the individuals occupying the Oval Office.

In this fascinating book, Robert Schmuhl traces the evolution of the modern presidency back to the terms of Franklin Roosevelt, maintaining that FDR’s White House years had a profound impact on the office, resulting in significant changes to the job and to those who have performed it since. Specifically, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms, has largely redefined each administration’s agenda. News sources and social media have also grown exponentially, exercising influence over the conduct of presidents and affecting the consequences of their behavior.

Schmuhl examines the presidency as an institution and the presidents as individuals from several different perspectives. He identifies recent trends in the office and probes the relationship between the White House and various forms of contemporary media. This book is an engrossing read for a general audience, particularly those with an interest in politics, American history, journalism, and communications.

Robert Schmuhl is the Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce Chair Emeritus in American Studies and Journalism, University of Notre Dame. He is the author of eight previous books with the University of Notre Dame Press, including Fifty Years with Father Hesburgh: On and Off the Record.


“An important and timely book.... Will there be four-in-a-row after 2020? Most of us hope not—but while we may deprecate Trump’s presidency, what this book tells us is that the problems besetting the presidency are bigger than any one individual’s incompetence or lack of character; the problem is systemic.”

The Irish Catholic

“The power of this book is that it goes where no one that I know of has yet gone. Reading The Glory and the Burden, it is clear you are listening to someone who knows his subject from soup to nuts. Schmuhl writes brightly, with touches of humor; he may be an academic, but he doesn't write like one. The book plows new ground, making sense of what appears to be inexplicable and upsetting to many.”

—Tom Bettag, former executive news producer at ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN

“Presidents are people, yes—but they're also mirrors, deft reflections of who we are as a nation. In this engagingly astute and beautifully written study, Robert Schmuhl puts the presidency on the couch, thereby revealing what makes it—and us, too—tick”

—Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer

“For much of his life, author and professor Robert Schmuhl has made words dance—for his students, in his many essays, and in his books. He has also danced back and forth between the academic realm and journalism with verve, a keen eye, and prolific publishing. In The Glory and the Burden, Schmuhl offers his ‘summary reflections’ on the critical institution of the presidency, which has animated his writing for decades. It looks at the big picture of how the office has functioned and who wins it. It’s the kind of book that every American should read in the run-up to the next presidential election.”

—Robert Costa, national political reporter for The Washington Post /and moderator of Washington Week on PBS

“It’s been about 75 years since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four-term presidency, an extended run in office now prohibited by constitutional amendment. The two-term maximum is among the changes that emerged from FDR’s tenure and, Schmuhl argues, have shaped the office and its occupants ever since.”

Notre Dame Magazine

“Schmuhl shows that, in recent decades, voters tend to veer from one personality-image to its opposite, giving hope that 2020 will bring a well-spoken, civic-minded leader to the fore.”

Shepherd Express

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University Press Audiobooks
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University Press Audiobooks