The book emerged from a class Watts and a colleague put together — at the request of students — within weeks of Trump’s election. The feedback they received, along with news coverage of the class, helped to confirm how hungry students, along with members of the public more generally, are for clear and accurate information about the legal basis of presidential power — and how all Americans can take steps to protect the rule of law.
The result was the book, “The Limits of Presidential Power,” which Manheim and Watts believe is the first to provide a concise and accessible guide to the laws that govern the presidency. To help ensure the book remains timely, inexpensive, and readily available, the authors took another unusual step: They decided to bypass traditional publishers and self-publish. It will be available for $2.99 as an ebook and $7.99 in print.
“We hope our guide will provide people with the knowledge they need in order to effectively participate in government, and to protect the rule of law,” said Watts. “Democracies like ours are kept alive by informed citizens.”
Self-publishing is a novel approach to bridging the gap between the academy and the public (I don’t count that screed from Judge Posner), and one that I think merits more attention. Manheim and Watts are also using twitter to bring attention to the book; you can follow them at @ManheimAndWatts.