Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



Political Science


In the first half of 2020, impeachment, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the upcoming presidential election knocked forever wars even farther off our radar. According to Gallup’s “Most Important Problem” polling, over the past six months, national security, terrorism, and international affairs in general registered less than 0.5% of mentions in the national sample. And yet Sarah Burns’s new book is as relevant as it would have been if public opinion still cared about war as much as it did in the first decade of this century. Although this book, published in 2019, obviously could not include these timely 2020 subjects, it is indirectly relevant to them. When is the reckoning going to come for the dysfunctions of the modern presidency that simultaneously abuses and squanders power across various issues? When will Congress ever again embrace the fullness of its constitutional authority to stop executive branch actions that majorities decry and see to completion a different agenda that members ran on and won?


© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

Original Publication Information

Farrier, J. (2020). "The Politics of War Powers: The Theory and History of Presidential Unilateralism. By Sarah Burns. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2019. 328p." Perspectives on Politics, 18(4), 1180-1182.