Richard B. Cheney and the Rise of the Imperial Vice Presidency
by Bruce P. Montgomery
February 2009, 248pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35620-9
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Paperback: 978-1-4408-3635-0
$45, £35, 40€, A62
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35621-6
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This critical new biography of former Vice-Presidnet Dick Cheney exposes how he engineered his arrogation of vast executive powers and details the dire consequences of his power grab for Constitutional governance at home and America’s security and strength abroad.

On taking office in 2001, Dick Cheney crowned himself the first imperial vice president in the nation’s history, transforming a traditionally inconsequential office into a de facto fourth branch of government. Taking a less journalistic and personal approach to Cheney than previous biographers, this critical new biography shows exactly how Cheney engineered his arrogation of vast executive powers—and the dire consequences his power grab has had and will long continue to have for the office of the vice presidency, the balance of powers, the Constitution, geopolitics, and America’s security, strength, and prestige.

Taking advantage of the administration’s global war on terrorism, a president inexperienced in matters of war and peace, and a Republican Congress that rated party power above institutional prerogatives, Vice President Cheney moved with astonishing speed and energy to assume a dominant role on the national and international stage as the effective president-in-proxy of the United States. Cheney asserted that all constitutional checks and balances and all individual liberties under the Bill of Rights are subservient to the president’s powers as commander-in-chief in confronting international terrorism. Although former administrations had made power grabs in the past in times of national crisis, no president-and certainly no vice president-has ever exerted such sweeping claims of executive power on so many fronts in violation of the bedrock principles of the Constitution.

Bruce P. Montgomery is associate professor and faculty director of archives at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the founding director of the UCB Human Rights Initiative and a founding member of the International Federation of Human Rights Centers and Archives. He has served as an analyst of classified documents for the US government. He is the author of Praeger's The Bush-Cheney Administration's Assault on Open Government and Subverting Open Government: White House Materials and Executive Branch Politics. Articles by Montgomery on the aggrandizement of the executive branch have appeared in many journals and newspapers, including Presidential Studies Quarterly, Political Science Quarterly, and the Washington Post.


"Bruce Montgomery’s latest book takes on the extraordinary doubletask of placing Cheney’s expansion of the powers and authority of the office of the vice presidency in a historical context, as well as tracing the development of Cheney’s peculiarly absolutist conception of executive power. Montgomery succeeds on both counts. The real strength of the book, setting it apart from the laudable account of Barton Gellman’s Angler, is its historical perspective, which successfully interweaves two analytical narratives."—The Oxonian Review, May 25, 2009

"...Montgomery provides an insightful, detailed account of Cheney's political career that should be of interest to a general audience seeking to understand his contributions to the Bush administration. Recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, and professionals."—Choice, April 1, 2010
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