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Bitter Harvest identifies the principles governing Franklin Roosevelt's development and use of a presidential staff system and offers a theory explaining why those principles proved so effective. Dickinson argues that presidents institutionalize staff to acquire the information and expertise necessary to better predict the likely impact their specific bargaining choices will have on the end results they desire. Once institutionalized, however, presidential staff must be managed. Roosevelt's use of competitive administrative techniques minimized his staff management costs, while his institutionalization of nonpartisan staff agencies provided him with needed information. Matthew Dickinson's research suggests that FDR's principles could be used today to manage the White House staff-dominated institutional presidency upon which most of his presidential successors have relied.

Bitter harvest - Matthew J. Dickinson

9780521653954
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Title
Bitter harvest - FDR, presidential power and the growth of the presidential branch
Author
Matthew J. Dickinson
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
19990213

Bitter Harvest identifies the principles governing Franklin Roosevelt's development and use of a presidential staff system and offers a theory explaining why those principles proved so effective. Dickinson argues that presidents institutionalize staff to acquire the information and expertise necessary to better predict the likely impact their specific bargaining choices will have on the end results they desire. Once institutionalized, however, presidential staff must be managed. Roosevelt's use of competitive administrative techniques minimized his staff management costs, while his institutionalization of nonpartisan staff agencies provided him with needed information. Matthew Dickinson's research suggests that FDR's principles could be used today to manage the White House staff-dominated institutional presidency upon which most of his presidential successors have relied.

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"Bitter Harvest is a substantive and meaty book. It is well researched, clearly written, well-reasoned and closely argued."
H-Net Reviews

"This detailed study of Roosevelt's administrative strategy seeks new insights into how contemporary presidents might derive better service from their advisers by emulating FDR's practices....Dickinson's study may well inaugurate another round of reexaminations focused on FDR."
American Political Science Review

"Bitter Harvest is a substantive and meaty book. It is well researched, clearly written, well-reasoned and closely argued."
H-Net Reviews

"Dickinson's book is of great value to those interested in FDR, his administrative style, and his unique approach to governing. The insights the author draws are well documented and can serve scholars interested in further developing the area under investigation. Finally, the book does serve as an alternative to those advocating a highly-structured executive branch. The lessons for future presidents are worth noting."
Presidential Studies Quarterly

"Dickinson has written a provocative volume whose prescriptions will engage political scientists and those analysis of Roosevelt's policy making will interest New Deal historians....this book is an impressive piece of scholarship thoroughly grounded in the political science secondary literature....this is a thought-provoking study of an important topic."
American Historical Review

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Presidents - United States - Staff.|Executive power - United States - History - 20th century.|United States - Politics and government - 1933-1945.
Country of Publication
England
Number of Pages
267

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