Synopses & Reviews
In Arsenal of Democracy, historian and public intellectual Julian Zelizer shows how internal politics have influenced American foreign policy since the Cold War. Rejecting the notion that, prior to the presidency of George W. Bush, politics stopped at the waters edge,” Zelizer exposes the partisan fighting that shaped the foreign policies of presidents from FDR to Kennedy to Reagan, revealing the extent to which the GOP and Democratic party have alternately sought to define themselves as the party of war and the party of peace as the political mood shifted. Republicans, he shows, have not always been hawks; during World War II, it was the Democratic party that took the lead not only in entering war, but in ensuring that the national security apparatus that emerged would remain a fixture of the American political landscape even after the war was over. A definitive account of the complex interaction between domestic politics and foreign affairs over the last six decades, Arsenal of Democracy is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of national security.
By a prize-winning historian, a sweeping history of the interplay between domestic politics and foreign policy since World War II
It has long been a truism that prior to George W. Bush, politics stopped at the water’s edge—that is, that partisanship had no place in national security. In Arsenal of Democracy, historian Julian E. Zelizer shows this to be demonstrably false: partisan fighting has always shaped American foreign policy and the issue of national security has always been part of our domestic conflicts. Based on original archival findings, Arsenal of Democracy offers new insights into nearly every major national security issue since the beginning of the cold war: from FDR’s masterful management of World War II to the partisanship that scarred John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, from Ronald Reagan’s fight against Communism to George W. Bush’s controversial War on Terror. A definitive account of the complex interaction between domestic politics and foreign affairs over the last six decades, Arsenal of Democracy is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of national security.
Eminently readable... [a] powerful and rewarding study of U.S. foreign policy in modern times.” Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs
About the Author
Julian E. Zelizer
is a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of On Capitol Hill
and Taxing America,
winner of the Organization of American Historians’ Ellis Hawley Prize, as well as several edited books. He has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN.com, The Daily Beast, Newsweek,
and Politico. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.