Barnard College political science professor Pious examines nine episodes in presidential politics from the past 60 years that illustrate the ""fiascoes... 'deep doo-doo'...quagmires and swamps and risky business"" that shake even the most powerful office in the free world. Pious has no shortage of material: among other events presented for consideration are the Bay of Pigs, Iran-Contra, the first Bush's ""read my lips"" tax promise, Clinton-era health care and Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Rather than ""assigning blame after the fact,"" Pious discusses theories of politics, presidential decision-making and advisors, and how presidential actions play with voters to determine ""how presidents might avoid crash-and-burn events in the future."" For solutions, Barnard looks to ""emerging sciences"" like risk management, operations research, and information theory to create ""robust decision making systems: those that will operate reliably even when component parts are unreliable and interact unpredictably."" Pious has researched each case in great detail, yielding much information that may be new to readers, and provides a thorough bibliography. Appropriate for high school and college study, this will also have great appeal for devotees of poli-sci and presidential history.