Icons of Democracy: American Leaders as Heroes, Aristocrats, Dissenters, and Democrats

Bruce Miroff, Author Basic Books $25 (422p) ISBN 978-0-465-08747-1
A provocative meditation on the commitments and deceptions of leadership in the U.S., this incisive study focuses on nine political figures. Alexander Hamilton set out to control the democratic passions of the populace. John Adams punctured Hamilton's imperial fantasy, but his own version of aristocratic leadership failed. Abraham Lincoln achieved a ``masculine/feminine fusion,'' avoiding paternalism and remaining open to citizens' views. Theodore Roosevelt and John Kennedy projected heroic images that afforded the public the pleasures of vicarious participation, while pursuing ``a self-aggrandizing role that jeopardized'' democracy. Franklin Roosevelt revitalized traditions of community but also oversaw the restoration of corporate power. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eugene Debs and Martin Luther King, Jr. promoted the inclusion of women, blue-collar workers and blacks in the democratic process. Miroff is a political science professor at the State University of New York. BOMC and History Book Club alternates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1993
Release date: 02/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-465-03261-7
Paperback - 440 pages - 978-0-7006-1018-1
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