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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinetby James Mann
Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of The Wise Men, the first group portrait of the inner circle of George W. Bush's team — Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, Armitage, Rice, and Wolfowitz.
When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan. But he was advised by a group that called themselves the Vulcans — a group of men and one woman with long and shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and first Bush administrations. After returning to power in 2001, the Vulcans — including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Condoleeza Rice — were widely expected to restore U.S. foreign policy to what it had been in past Republican administrations. Instead, they put America on an entirely new course, adopting a far-reaching set of ideas and policies that changed the world and America's role in it.
In this revelatory and newsworthy volume, James Mann narrates the hidden story of these six history makers, their early careers and rise to power, the interactions and underlying tensions among them, their visions, and their roles in the current administration. Along the way, he offers a wealth of new information (about how Rumsfeld schemed in the Nixon White House, how Cheney toiled as Rumsfeld's doorkeeper, how Wolfowitz first warned of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East in the 1960s) to complete a remarkable look at George W. Bush's inner circle.
"[An] exceptionally evenhanded and well-written book. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"This well-written, serious, evenhanded effort should be essential reading for anyone interested in American foreign policy." Publishers Weekly
"Intricately shaded and scary profile of President George W. Bush's foreign policy team....[A] steady voice that likes to hew to the facts." Kirkus Reviews
"[L]ucid, shrewd and, after so many high-decibel screeds from both the right and left, blessedly level-headed....[N]ecessary reading." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
In the tradition of The Wise Men comes the first group portrait of the inner circle of George W. Bush's team — Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, Armitage, Rice, and Wolfowitz.
When George W. Bush campaigned for the White House, he was such a novice in foreign policy that he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and momentarily suggested he thought the Taliban was a rock-and-roll band. But he relied upon a group called the Vulcans—an inner circle of advisers with a long, shared experience in government, dating back to the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and first Bush administrations. After returning to power in 2001, the Vulcans were widely expected to restore U.S. foreign policy to what it had been under George H. W. Bush and previous Republican administrations. Instead, the Vulcans put America on an entirely new and different course, adopting a far-reaching set of ideas that changed the world and America's role in it. Rise of the Vulcans is nothing less than a detailed, incisive thirty-five-year history of the top six members of the Vulcans—Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Condoleezza Rice—and the era of American dominance they represent. It is the story of the lives, ideas and careers of Bush's war cabinet—the group of Washington insiders who took charge of America's response to September 11 and led the nation into its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Separately, each of these stories sheds astonishing light not only on the formative influences that brought these nascent leaders from obscurity to the pinnacle of power, but also on the experiences, conflicts and competitions that prefigured their actions on the present world stage. Taken together, the individuals in this book represent a unique generation in American history—a generation that might be compared to the "wise men" who shaped American policy after World War II or the "best and brightest" who prosecuted the war in Vietnam. Over the past three decades, since the time of Vietnam, these individuals have gradually led the way in shaping a new vision of an unchallengeable America seeking to dominate the globe through its military power.
About the Author
James Mann is the senior writer in residence at the CSIS International Security Program and the author of two critically acclaimed books: About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China from Nixon to Clinton and Beijing Jeep. Previously, he was a long-time correspondent with the Los Angeles Times, and his writing has also appeared in The New Republic and The Atlantic Monthly. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
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