The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made

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9781451683226: The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made

With a new Introduction by the authors, this is the classic account of the American statesmen who rebuilt the world after the catastrophe of World War II.

Six close friends shaped the role their country would play in the dangerous years following World War II. They were the original best and brightest, whose towering intellects, outsize personalities, and dramatic actions would bring order to the postwar chaos, and whose strong response to Soviet expansionism would leave a legacy that dominates American policy to this day.

In April 1945, they converged to advise an untutored new president, Harry Truman. They were Averell Harriman, the freewheeling diplomat and Roosevelt’s special envoy to Churchill and Stalin; Dean Acheson, the secretary of state who was more responsible for the Truman Doctrine than Truman and for the Marshall Plan than General Marshall; George Kennan, selfcast outsider and intellectual darling of the Washington elite; Robert Lovett, assistant secretary of war, undersecretary of state, and secretary of defense throughout the formative years of the Cold War; John McCloy, one of the nation’s most influential private citizens; and Charles Bohlen, adroit diplomat and ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Together they formulated a doctrine of Communist containment that was to be the foundation of American policy, and years later, when much of what they stood for appeared to be sinking in the mire of Vietnam, they were summoned for their steady counsel. It was then that they were dubbed “the Wise Men.” Working in an atmosphere of trust that in today’s Washington would seem quaint, they shaped a new world order that committed a once-reticent nation to defending freedom wherever it sought to flourish.

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About the Author:

Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography.
Evan Thomas is the author of The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the C.I.A.; Robert Kennedy: His Life; The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst and the Rush to Empire, 1989; Sea of Thunder: The Last Great Naval Command, 1941-1945; and John Paul Jones. He is at work on a book about President Dwight Eisenhower.

From Publishers Weekly:

This extensive group-portrait by two Time news editors trumpets the role of six policymakersDean Acheson, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, John McCloy Jr., Charles Bohlen, Robert Lovettin taking postWW II America from isolationism to a recognition that the U.S. "would have to assume the burden of a global role." The irony is that, as elder statesmen, they sometimes warned against the interventionist momentum they had helped create, as this behind-the-scenes account makes clear. The authors' portrayal of the six as the hidden architects behind the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and Cold War containment will certainly provoke debate. Based on prodigious research, including interviews with four of the six, the tome often sounds like an official biography ("Kennan had tortuously conflicted feelings about being tapped to be part of the American elite") and the prose echoes Time's style (Dean Rusk, "the round-faced Georgian"). History buffs will follow with interest the minor revelations that spill forth as the six advise presidents from F. D. R. to L. B. J. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Isaacson, Walter, Thomas, Evan
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