Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953-71

Douglas G. Brinkley, Author Yale University Press $45 (429p) ISBN 978-0-300-04773-8
Considered a major architect of postwar foreign policy, Acheson (1893-1971) served as Truman's Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953. This eminently readable study, however, doesn't focus on his career in office, but rather on his last 18 years as an oft-consulted elder statesman. During this period, Brinkley shows, Acheson continued to play a prominent role in domestic politics by providing the Democratic Party with well-articulated positions for the 1956 and 1960 presidential elections, as well as in foreign affairs. Between 1960 and his death he served as head of several NATO task forces, as special envoy to France and as foreign-policy adviser to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He also found time to write six well-received books, including Present at the Creation , which won a Pulitzer Prize. Incorporating new material in this well-rounded portrait, Brinkley conveys the broad scope of Acheson's fertile mind, his personal integrity, and his diplomatic acumen--as well as some of his unattractive characteristics, such as his egotism, arrogance, intolerance and a caustic wit that could turn vicious. Brinkley is an assistant professor of history at Hofstra in New York. Photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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