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War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton and the Generalsby David Halberstam
Synopses & Reviews
In this long-awaited successor to his #1 national bestseller The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam describes in fascinating human detail how the shadow of the Cold War still hangs over American foreign policy and how domestic politics have determined our role as a world power.
More than twenty-five years ago Halberstam told the riveting story of the men who conceived and executed the Vietnam War. Today the Pulitzer Prize- winning author has written another unforgettable chronicle of Washington politics, this time exploring the complex dynamics of foreign policy in post-Cold War America.
Halberstam brilliantly evokes the internecine conflicts, the untrammeled egos, and the struggles for dominance among the key figures in the White House, the State Department, and the military. He shows how the decisions of men who served in the Vietnam War — such as General Colin Powell and presidential advisers Richard Holbrooke and Anthony Lake — and those who did not have shaped American politics and policy makers (perhaps most notably, President Clinton's placing, for the first time in fifty years, domestic issues over foreign policy).
With his uncanny ability to find the real story behind the headlines, Halberstam shows how current events in the Balkans, Somalia, and Haiti reflect American politics and foreign policy. He discusses the repercussions in Washington on policy makers from two different administrations; the wariness of the American military to become caught again in an inconclusive ground war; the frustrations of civilian advisers, most of whom have never served in the military; and the effects these conflicting forces have on the American commander in Kosovo, General Wes Clark.
Sweeping in its scope and impressive in its depth, War in a Time of Peace provides fascinating portraits of Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Kissinger, James Baker, Dick Cheney, Madeleine Albright, and others, to reveal a stunning view of modern political America.
"Halberstam's most important book, more ambitious and revealing than The Best and the Brightest, in what it tells of politics and decision making in America during the nineties. Just as Vietnam was the test case for our elders, the Balkans and other tragic conflicts became the proving ground for the Bush and Clinton administrations. What Halberstam has written is nothing less than a War and Peace for our generation." Leslie H. Gelb, president, Council on Foreign Relations
"Events and personalities clash in this extraordinary sequel to Halberstam's classic examination of America's road to Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest....This is vintage Halberstam, combining sharp portraits of the political players Bush, Clinton, Powell, Madeleine Albright, and so many others with nuanced reportage of the events they shape and are shaped by." Publishers Weekly
"A sprawling tapestry of exquisite bottom-up reporting and powerful vignettes." Jane Perlez, The New York Times Book Review
"Halberstam has become one of the great synthesizers of modern American history. He writes sweeping, smart books on big topics." Mark Bowden, The Washington Post
About the Author
David Halberstam is one of America's most distinguished journalists and historians, a man whose newspaper reporting and books have helped define the era we live in. He graduated from Harvard in 1955, took his first job on the smallest daily in Mississippi, and then covered the early civil rights struggle for the Nashville Tennessean. He joined The New York Times in 1960, went overseas almost immediately, first to the Congo and then to Vietnam. His early pessimistic dispatches from Vietnam won him the Pulitzer in 1964 at the age of thirty. His last twelve books, starting with The Best and the Brightest and including The Powers That Be, The Reckoning, and The Fifties, have all been national bestsellers. This is his seventeenth book. He is a member of the elective Society of American Historians.
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History and Social Science » Politics » Political Science