To End a Presidency

Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4.5 out of 5 stars (158 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The history and future of our democracy's ultimate sanction, presidential impeachment, and a guide to how it should be used now.

To End a Presidency addresses one of today's most urgent questions: when and whether to impeach a president. Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz provide an authoritative guide to impeachment's past and a bold argument about its proper role today. In an era of expansive presidential power and intense partisanship, we must rethink impeachment for the 21st century.  

Of impeachments, one Constitutional Convention delegate declared, "A good magistrate will not fear them. A bad one will be kept in fear of them." To End a Presidency is an essential book for all Americans seeking to understand how this crucial but fearsome power should be exercised.

©2018 Laurence Tribe, Joshua Matz (P)2018 Basic Books

Critic Reviews

"Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz have produced the single best overview ever written of the impeachment process. At a time when Americans both in the public and in government are hungry for a comprehensive and deep analysis of the subject, they have provided it. It is indispensable for our generation and for future ones to come." (Norman L. Eisen, chair and co-founder, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)

"Impeachment is a fearsome power. This bracing, restrained, and fiercely judicious account of the process's origins and purpose explains why no U.S. president has ever been removed from office by impeachment, and what it might mean if one were." (Jill Lepore, author of the forthcoming These Truths: A History of the United States)

"Very few books are accessible to a wide audience of lay people and experts, written compellingly and reading easily, while also having depth, insight, and deep scholarship. To End a Presidency is one of the rare ones. Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz have given us a thorough, lively history of presidential impeachment, enriched with strong legal and political analysis, fair-minded and thoughtful without being bland. This is an important, timely, and extraordinarily useful book at a critical time in American politics." (Norman Ornstein, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute, and best-selling co-author of One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet-Deported)

Listen to the Articles of Impeachment and Supporting Reports


Audible has a long history of recording and releasing public documents in audio to keep listeners informed. Our recorded versions of the documents relating to the impeachment investigation into Donald J. Trump are available now, free of charge.

What listeners say about To End a Presidency

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Very informative, non partisan, and level headed

Though I see Mr. Trump as a festering boil in the buttcrack of America, as a result of this reading, I can now see past my reflexive rush to judgement and am now wise enough to ponder whether or not removal of this or any president is best for the country. It very well may be, in the case of 45. But it's not as cut and dry as I once thought.

8 people found this helpful

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Impeachment Explained Objectively

Narration: Clear and a bit slow, but speed conducive to thoughtful reflection and full understanding.

Content: Thorough, Informative, Useful explanation of what impeachment is and what it is not. This is an objective appraisal, useful for all citizens regardless of party affiliation. I found the last chapter concerning polarization sobering and of concern to all of us.

Highly recommended.

7 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

I absolutely loved this book. I gained such a diaper understanding of the impeachment process, the politics involved, and the history of it. Plus it has a bonus lesson on the 25th Amendment. It doesn't hide anything about today's political climate either but also doesn't take unfair punches. I will definitely be listening over again in the future.

5 people found this helpful

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Solid overview of a complex topic

Nicely narrated audiobook - the topic is surely uppermost in many people’s minds at this time. The authors do a good job of laying out the intricacies, the powers and drawbacks and history of impeachment in the US, diving into the background of Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump to provide examples of prior precedent and highlight the tension between the risks of deciding to impeach and the risks of deciding not to impeach.

Punches are not pulled!

4 people found this helpful

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A very good book

The author is an Extremely smart person. Laurence Tribe has written constitutions of other countries! This is a man worth listening to. This is a book worth reading.

3 people found this helpful

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Insightful and accessible

Tribe and Matz have written in clear and accessible prose an insightful treatise on the subject of impeaching the American President. They describe the benefits and the negatives equally, warned when it may be necessary and when it has been abused. They describe the polarization and partisanship of the current political climate and the worsening state of democracy in the country and how these elements challenge the application for impeachment. This is a sobering, measure, informative and instructive book, written engagingly and intelligently. I highly recommend it to those interested in presidential history and impeachment in the context of contemporary events. If one has read the Mueller Report in whole or part, it is a useful accompaniment.

2 people found this helpful

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Extraordinarily Timely and Important

This is a well written, scholarly but digestible discussion of the history and importance of the power of impeachment in the Constitution and throughout American history. Tribe and Matz present in plain English, a well thought out explanation of the intricate legal and political thinking on the subject and on its use from the writing of the Constitution to the modern day. This country would benefit greatly, especially at this point in our history, if all Americans would read this analysis and take it to heart. In the era of Trump and hyper-partisan politics, the detailed analysis of why this power exists, how it was structured by the constitutional framers, and when it should and should not be used is extremely relevant, and all American citizens of voting age should understand exactly what impeachment is and how it works.

Personally, as a non-lawyer, and as an engaged citizen who finds Donald Trump a wholly unacceptable occupant of the oval office, I found this book sobering, and enlightening. It is NOT a roadmap for impeaching Trump. No matter whether you believe, as I do, that Trump has committed impeachable offenses and should be removed from office, or whether you believe he should not be impeached, this book will shed light on the over-all process of impeachment, and will call your attention to the many factors that should be considered when it appears that a President -- any President -- may have committed impeachable offenses. This book, unlike so much of the media discussion on the subject, is serious, sober, and rooted in political reality, with a thorough understanding of the constitution and the history of impeachment in the United States.

Tribe and Matz address the historical instances where impeachment was used in various ways, whether impeachment was justified and when it wasn't. They point out that though impeachment talk has become a constant factor in modern political rhetoric, no sitting President has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process. They lay out in detail why it should be rare, and why and when it should be seriously considered.

Not might think that a book like this written by a couple of legal scholars would be difficult or dry reading. I found the book both engaging and easy to understand. Though it is densely packed with detail, and examines the complexity surrounding impeachment, it is also engaging, and extremely relevant for anyone who cares about American democracy.

The performance by L.J. Ganser, who reads the body of the book, was excellent. Tribe himself reads the introduction. Tribe reads slowly and deliberately, but don't let that turn you away. He only reads the introduction.

I highly recommend this work for anyone who wants a more complete understanding of this extraordinary constitutional power. It is NOT light reading. But in our time, it offers essential knowledge that will inform your political choices.


2 people found this helpful

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A Primer on Impeachment and our Present Dilemma

To End a Presidency, researched and written by Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz. Narrated by L. J. Ganser. This is a magnificent read; for those who are capable of understanding Madisonian rule of law and committed to understanding and discussing established principals of democracy. If you lack the ability to be intrigued by political happenings, and think things will just work out for themselves or if you do not have patience to undertake a complete study of an obscure legal concept; stay away from this book and remain unapprised.

Tribe and Matz have created a brilliant introduction to the U.S. Constitutional concept of Impeachment. The book gives you a perfect historical understanding to what impeachment has meant, how it has changed over time, what were its origins in the Constitution, including its initial drafts and redoes, to come up with a final draft. This was the most storied part of the novel and was fun to read. Yet, then, being students of the law, they go on to explain the legal standards for impeachment. I am an attorney at law and thought their display of the information was so very well done. Easy to read, interesting, organized and informative. Yet, I am not sure that anyone who accepts the Trump statements that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), Paris (“Climate”) Agreement (French: Accord de Paris), and The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are each the worst deal ever made (how can three distinct deals each being the worst?); would want to delve into real analysis. If you like Trump’s simplistic incantations this book will be too much of a read into thoughtfulness. It is reasoned logic.

The authors then provide an extensive history of each and every effort of impeachment in our history. I do mean each and every, yet it too was a fun read. They next tell us of the derogation that has come into being in using the Constitutional clause too often and purely and only for a political purpose. Impeachment was used often in the early days of our union, again after the Civil War, a little in Truman’s time, again with Reagan and now it has become an abused political tool since Clinton’s time. To add to the interesting presentation, they take on the effect such has had in our society, and what it could mean for our national future.

Finally, they excoriate, the constant use of the Impeachment word. Yet, on the other hand they do review President Trump’s history against the teachings they have provided in this book. How Trump stands up against impeachment law I will leave for you to read. These are obviously two well educated and diligent legal scholars. They end the book with what you need to consider in any future undertaking of impeachment. Particularly about Trump. If you wish to advocate or oppose impeachment, you need to know all that is discussed herein or you are pitching a point being insufficiently educated.

18 people found this helpful

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Excellent and engaging

Excellent engaging history of American constitutional law, partisanship and the irony of impeachment. I had no idea so many presidential impeachments had been attempted. The earlier presidential history was anything but even. Why wasn't this in our history books as children. Those books would have been more fun than Indiana Jones. I was especially blown away by the Truman presidency. He dropped the bomb. But his historical significance didn't stop there. We learn of the misguided and maniacal actions of MacArthur and Truman's inability to stop him as it relates to what is happening right now in our government.

This book is a must read for our new Congress.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Reading, Very informative

Learned about the history and difficult process to impeach and similar related historical issues surrounding unfavorable presidents since the inception of this office. wish it were an easier process because we have a president who does not have our country's best interests and who has a fascist philosophy.

1 person found this helpful