Dean Acheson

Dean Acheson : A Life in the Cold War

4.16 (42 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Dean Acheson was one of the most influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history, presiding over American foreign policy during a pivotal era - the decade after World War II when the American Century slipped into high gear. During his vastly influential career, Acheson spearheaded the greatest foreign policy achievements in modern times, ranging from the Marshall Plan to the establishment of NATO. Now, in this monumental biography, Robert L. Beisner paints an indelible portrait of one of the key figures of the last half-century. In a book filled with insight based on research in government archives, memoirs, letters, and diaries, Beisner illuminates Acheson's policy-making, describing how he led the state department and managed his relationship with Truman, all to illuminate the vital policies he initiated in his years at State. The book examines Acheson's major triumphs, including the highly underrated achievement of converting West Germany and Japan from mortal enemies to prized allies, and does not shy away from examining his missteps.
But underlying all his actions, Beisner shows, was a tough-minded determination to outmatch the strength of the Soviet bloc--indeed, to defeat the Soviet Union at every turn. The emotional center of the book focuses on Acheson's friendship with Truman. No pair seemed so poorly matched--one, a bourbon-drinking mid-Westerner with a homespun disposition, the other, a mustachioed Connecticut dandy who preferred perfect martinis--yet no such team ever worked better together. Acheson's unstinting dedication to an often unpopular president was reciprocated with deep gratitude and loyalty. Together, they redrew the map of the post-war world. Over six foot tall, with steel blue, "merry, searching eyes" and a "wolfish" grin, Dean Acheson was an unforgettable character--intellectually brilliant, always debonair, and tough as tempered steel. This lustrous portrait of an immensely accomplished and colorful life is the epitome of the biographer's art.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 832 pages
  • 160 x 218.4 x 48.3mm | 1,133.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195045785
  • 9780195045789
  • 1,741,342

Review quote

...thoughtful and well-researched account of Acheson's years as undersecretary and then secretary of state shows him to be a man of sweeping views but pragmatic and definable policies. * New York Times Book Review
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About Robert L. Beisner

Robert L. Beisner is Professor of History Emeritus at American University. A former president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, he lives in Washington, DC.
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Rating details

42 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 33% (14)
4 50% (21)
3 17% (7)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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