K. Ward Cummings is a former senior adviser to members of Congress. Before coming to Congress, he was director of the Division of International and Intergovermental Relations for the Maryland state government. He is a board member of the Harold W. Rosenthal Fellowship, a nonprofit that helps to secure government internships for young professionals. Formerly, he was a senior adviser to the Partnership for a Secure America (PSA), where he helped create the Capitol Leaders Program, a collaboration between Harvard University's Program on Negotiation and PSA to teach negotiation and conflict-resolution skills to senior congressional staffers. In addition, he was a member of the National Journal Group's Policymakers Council.
ABOUT THE BOOK
This revealing book examines the relationships between U.S. presidents and their closest advisers from a psychological, personal, and professional point of view. The author, a Capitol Hill veteran, shows why such relationships are necessary, how presidents have employed them, how they have evolved over successive administrations, and why some believe they are not in the best interests of the nation.
Cummings describes relationships that have sometimes been tense, such as the fractious association between George Washington and Alexander Hamilton; or complicated, as seen in the often-troubled understanding between Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton; or controversial, as in the influence of Vice President Dick Cheney on the decision making of George W. Bush.
There have also been close friendships, such as the bond between Abraham Lincoln and William Seward; the long-term partnership of Franklin Roosevelt and Louis Howe; and, more recently, the trusting reliance of Barack Obama on Valerie Jarrett.
Whether their connection with presidents was close or strained, these "partners to power" had an impact on some of history's most important moments and decisions.
Full of interesting vignettes, insights, and little-known facts, this is a fascinating insider's account of the exercise of power at the highest levels.
“Cummings uncovers much fascinating presidential history…. An original, insightful exploration of how the presidency has evolved and of how presidents have functioned.”
“Delivers entertaining accounts that illuminate an important feature of American presidential politics.”
“This intimate look at the partnerships that shaped presidencies is delightfully informative. It vividly shows how the personalities of leaders and those around them affect the whole world.”
—Stephen Kinzer, author of The Brothers and The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire
“One of the best ways to add fresh perspective to leaders as well-known as Washington, Lincoln, or Eisenhower is through a confidant who knew them in all seasons, fair and foul. Partner to Power casts that light on nine presidents, from the point of view of those in the very tightest ring of the inner circle. Cummings carefully traces how each such relationship evolved, changing history as a president turned to another person as a crony, sounding board, political hitman, or all of those and more. Packed with rich anecdotes, Cummings’s vigorous new book will engage readers whether they are just meeting the presidents in question or have already read extensively about them.”
—Julie Fenster, author of Jefferson’s America and FDR’s Shadow
“A lively, instructive, and thoroughly entertaining history that explains the mysterious chemistry between nine of America’s presidents and their most powerful advisers.”
—David Roll, author of The Hopkins Touch: Harry Hopkins and the Forging of the Alliance to Defeat Hitler
“This is a highly readable and most enjoyable look at the people behind some of the most influential US presidents, beginning with Washington and his right-hand-aide Alexander Hamilton and moving through history to the duo of George H. W. Bush and Dick Cheney. It reminds us that no president is an island; his success or failure often depends on the men or women around him. While some of these partnerships dissolved acrimoniously, their influences were powerful, enduring, and helped shape the nation at crucial moments in its history.”
—Linda Lotridge Levin, Professor Emeritus, journalism, University of Rhode Island, and author of The Making of FDR
“This is a very readable and absorbing account of the American presidents and their advisors through all the administrations.... It is all about politics and personalities and how these two items sometimes combined to produce something not only remarkable but also relevant to history. President Lincoln and his secretary of state, William Seward, for instance, had a personal relationship that contributed as much to the winning of the Civil War as any battle. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in politics and in American history.”
—David Alan Johnson, author of Battle of Wills
“Cummings rewards readers with thoroughly researched tales of American presidents and their closest counselors. Equally insightful and entertaining, Partner to Power remains lively, even as it expands our understanding of presidential decision-making.”
—Dr. David Priess, author of The President’s Book of Secrets and former CIA officer
July 5: Hagerstown Historical Society
Sept 7: Washington County Free Library
Nov 19: Howard County Library