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Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and Nation Building in the Kennedy Era (New Cold War History)by Michael E. Latham
Synopses & Reviews
Providing new insight on the intellectual and cultural dimensions of the Cold War, Michael Latham reveals how social science theory helped shape American foreign policy during the Kennedy administration. He shows how, in the midst of America's protracted struggle to contain communism in the developing world, the concept of global modernization moved beyond its beginnings in academia to become a motivating ideology behind policy decisions.
After tracing the rise of modernization theory in American social science, Latham analyzes the way its core assumptions influenced the Kennedy administration's Alliance for Progress with Latin America, the creation of the Peace Corps, and the strategic hamlet program in Vietnam. But as he demonstrates, modernizers went beyond insisting on the relevance of America's experience to the dilemmas faced by impoverished countries. Seeking to accelerate the movement of foreign societies toward a liberal, democratic, and capitalist modernity, Kennedy and his advisers also reiterated a much deeper sense of their own nation's vital strengths and essential benevolence. At the height of the Cold War, Latham argues, modernization recast older ideologies of Manifest Destiny and imperialism.
A particularly interesting study.
Journal of American History Latham provides a detailed, clear, and largely well-supported study of several important U.S. Cold War foreign policies.
American Historical Review This book should be widely read by students and scholars of history, political science, sociology, and policy analysis.
Choice Latham's is an important book that should find a wide audience among those interested in the history of the Cold War.
International Affairs Elegant, precise, and copiously informative.
Anders Stephanson, Columbia University
Explores how the social science concept of global modernization shaped American foreign policy in the Kennedy administration, from such programs as the Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress to an eventual recasting of Manifest Destiny and imperlalism.
Table of Contents
Foreword by John Lewis Gaddis
1. Modernization as Ideology: Approaching the Problem
2. American Social Science, Modernization Theory, and the Cold War
3. Modernity, Anticommunism, and the Alliance for Progress
4. Modernization for Peace: The Peace Corps, Community Development, and America's Mission
5. Modernization at War: Counterinsurgency and the Strategic Hamlet Program in Vietnam
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