The Buck Stops Here: The 28 Toughest Presidential Decisions and How They Changed History by Thomas J. Craughwell and Edwin Kiester Jr. is composed of twenty-eight accounts of the most influential and pivotal United States presidential decisions in history. These decisions encompass a broad range of topics, including the Louisiana Purchase, Emancipation Proclamation, and G.I. Bill.
Each chapter discusses the background surrounding the decision, reasons for why the decision was made, and the effects of the decision on the history of the United States (and sometimes the world). The chapters are short (average of 10 pages) and easily understandable – a novice of the subject can handily follow along with the subject.
The authors make a very compelling argument regarding these decisions. Each of the decisions in their own right changed the course of our country. For example, no one can argue with how huge President Lincoln’s decision was to issue the Emancipation Proclamation – that forever changed the racial history of the United States. Or, conversely, how much race relations were set back by President Hayes’ decision to pull federal troops out of the South (thus ending Reconstruction and allowing many white racists back into power).
Any reader interested in how our country came to be what it is today will fully appreciate this work by Craughwell and Kiester.