Unwarranted Influence: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military-industrial Complex

Unwarranted Influence: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Military-industrial Complex

Paperback Icons of America (Paperback)

By (author) James Ledbetter

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  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 280 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 208mm x 25mm | 227g
  • Publication date: 4 October 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New Haven
  • ISBN 10: 0300177623
  • ISBN 13: 9780300177626
  • Illustrations note: 1 black-&-white illustration
  • Sales rank: 1,534,824

Product description

In "Dwight" D. Eisenhower's last speech as president, on January 17, 1961, he warned America about the 'military-industrial complex', a mutual dependency between the nation's industrial base and its military structure that had developed during World War II. After the conflict ended, the nation did not abandon its wartime economy but rather the opposite. Military spending has steadily increased, giving rise to one of the key ideas that continues to shape the country's political landscape. In this book, published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Eisenhower's farewell address, journalist James Ledbetter shows how the government, military contractors, and the nation's overall economy have become inseparable. Some of the effects are beneficial, such as cell phones, GPS systems, the Internet, and the Hubble Space Telescope, all of which emerged from technologies first developed for the military. But the military-industrial complex has also provoked agonizing questions. Does our massive military establishment - bigger than those of the next ten largest combined - really make us safer? How much of our perception of security threats is driven by the profit-making motives of military contractors? To what extent is our foreign policy influenced by contractors' financial interests? Ledbetter uncovers the surprising origins and the even more surprising afterlife of the military-industrial complex, an idea that arose as early as the 1930s, and shows how it gained traction during World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam era and continues even today.

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Author information

James Ledbetter is editor in charge of Reuters.com. His books include Made Possible By ... and Starving to Death on $200 Million.

Review quote

"'Few commentators on the 34th president's mind and methods have more rigorously considered the evolution of Eisenhower's preoccupations than Ledbetter has.' (Josiah Bunting III, Washington Post)"