Fred Greenstein, who joined Princeton’s faculty as Professor of Politics in 1973, transferred to emeritus status in 2000, and died in 2018, had his final book, Presidential Performance in the Progressive Era: Leadership Style from McKinley to Wilson, published by Texas A&M University Press in January. The book was coauthored by Dale Anderson.

Greenstein was a towering figure in the study of presidential politics. His 1982 book, The Hidden-Hand Presidency, transformed views of Eisenhower’s governing style. Profiting from access to just-opened archives, he showed that behind the amiable public persona was a shrewd political operator, who often used indirect means to achieve his goals.

His magnum opus, The Presidential Difference, proposed examining presidents in terms of their strengths and weaknesses in six areas, ranging from political skill, policy vision, and cognitive style to public communication, organizational capacity, and emotional intelligence. The first edition applied the framework to the eleven presidents, from FDR to Clinton. Later editions included the second Bush, and then Obama.

During his retirement years, he applied the framework to three different eras. Inventing the Job of President: Leadership Style from George Washington to Andrew Jackson (2009) explored the leadership styles of the first seven presidents. Presidents and the Dissolution of the Union: Leadership Style from Polk to Lincoln (2013) did the same for the six pre-Civil War presidents. His new book includes the four progressive-era presents. In all, Greenstein applied his comparative framework to 30 of the 46 individual presidents.

Before turning his attention to presidents, Greenstein wrote a classic study on how children first learn about politics (1965) and a theoretical book on the role of personality in politics (1969).