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Dean Acheson : a life in the Cold War / Robert L. Beisner.

By: Beisner, Robert L.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006Description: xiv, 800 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0195045785 (alk. paper); 9780195045789 (alk. paper).Subject(s): Acheson, Dean, 1893-1971 | Statesmen -- United States -- Biography | United States -- Foreign relations -- 1945-1953 | Cold WarAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Dean Acheson.; Online version:: Dean Acheson.DDC classification: 973.918092 | B Other classification: 15.85 | 89.70
Contents:
Acknolwedgments -- Definitions of acronyms and abbreviations -- Introduction : "The shiniest fish that ever came out of the sea" -- Rare meat : adding reach to power -- Patterns of peril : joining the cold warriors -- Rome and Carthage : the Truman Doctrine -- The Marshall Plan and return to private life -- The inner and outer Acheson -- Acheson, the president and the State Department -- Keeping the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down, 1949 -- Strategy in Europe : backing the West, probing the East -- Looking for chances in China, 1949 -- Neither wood nor ivory : checkmated in China, 1949-1950 -- Other early encounters with Asia and the Middle East -- Weapons : the H-bomb -- Words : NSC-68, public opinion, and total diplomacy -- Real diplomacy, in Europe, 1949-1950 -- Plunge into the unknown : the United States, Indochina, and China on the eve of the Korean War -- Friends in place : Acheson and Alger Hiss -- Evil days.
Testing ground -- Korea -- In the cockpit -- Prodding evolution with action : German rearmament -- Acceleration from a running start -- In thrall : ironic failures in Korea -- Job's comforter and the Mad Satrap -- Captives of war -- At different ends of the triangle : domestic debates, European armies, British allies -- Command in Japan -- Failure in Indochina and China -- Razor edge sensibilities : ANZUS and India -- Falling between two stools : the Middle East, North Africa, and Africa -- Picking up sticks in Egypt and Iran -- Jousting with Mosadeq, waiting for Nasser -- Latin America : critical but not serious -- Lisbon to letdown : the fate of the EDC -- Apples of discord : Germany and the Soviet Union, 1952 -- Scope for the exercise of every vital power -- Conclusion : Power for a purpose -- A note to the reader -- Notes -- Index.
Summary: Dean Acheson was one of the most influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history, presiding over American foreign policy during the pivotal decade after World War II. During his vastly influential career, Acheson spearheaded the greatest foreign policy achievements in modern times, ranging from the Marshall Plan to the establishment of NATO. In a book filled with insight based on research in government archives, memoirs, letters, and diaries, historian Beisner illuminates Acheson's policy-making, describing how he led the State Department and managed his relationship with Truman. The book examines Acheson's major triumphs, including the highly underrated achievement of converting West Germany and Japan from mortal enemies to prized allies, and does not shy away from examining his missteps. But underlying all his actions, Beisner shows, was a tough-minded determination to outmatch the strength of the Soviet bloc--indeed, to defeat the Soviet Union at every turn.--From publisher description.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E748 .A15 B45 2006 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001908680

Includes bibliographical references (p. [661]-768) and index.

Acknolwedgments -- Definitions of acronyms and abbreviations -- 1. Introduction : "The shiniest fish that ever came out of the sea" -- pt. 1 -- 2. Rare meat : adding reach to power -- 3. Patterns of peril : joining the cold warriors -- 4. Rome and Carthage : the Truman Doctrine -- 5. The Marshall Plan and return to private life -- pt. 2 -- 6. The inner and outer Acheson -- 7. Acheson, the president and the State Department -- 8. Keeping the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down, 1949 -- 9. Strategy in Europe : backing the West, probing the East -- 10. Looking for chances in China, 1949 -- 11. Neither wood nor ivory : checkmated in China, 1949-1950 -- 12. Other early encounters with Asia and the Middle East -- pt. 3 -- 13. Weapons : the H-bomb -- 14. Words : NSC-68, public opinion, and total diplomacy -- 15. Real diplomacy, in Europe, 1949-1950 -- 16. Plunge into the unknown : the United States, Indochina, and China on the eve of the Korean War -- 17. Friends in place : Acheson and Alger Hiss -- 18. Evil days.

pt. 4 -- 19. Testing ground -- Korea -- 20. In the cockpit -- 21. Prodding evolution with action : German rearmament -- 22. Acceleration from a running start -- pt. 5 -- 23. In thrall : ironic failures in Korea -- 24. Job's comforter and the Mad Satrap -- 25. Captives of war -- 26. At different ends of the triangle : domestic debates, European armies, British allies -- pt. 6 -- 27. Command in Japan -- 28. Failure in Indochina and China -- 29. Razor edge sensibilities : ANZUS and India -- 30. Falling between two stools : the Middle East, North Africa, and Africa -- 31. Picking up sticks in Egypt and Iran -- 32. Jousting with Mosadeq, waiting for Nasser -- 33. Latin America : critical but not serious -- pt. 7 -- 34. Lisbon to letdown : the fate of the EDC -- 35. Apples of discord : Germany and the Soviet Union, 1952 -- 36. Scope for the exercise of every vital power -- 37. Conclusion : Power for a purpose -- A note to the reader -- Notes -- Index.

Dean Acheson was one of the most influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history, presiding over American foreign policy during the pivotal decade after World War II. During his vastly influential career, Acheson spearheaded the greatest foreign policy achievements in modern times, ranging from the Marshall Plan to the establishment of NATO. In a book filled with insight based on research in government archives, memoirs, letters, and diaries, historian Beisner illuminates Acheson's policy-making, describing how he led the State Department and managed his relationship with Truman. The book examines Acheson's major triumphs, including the highly underrated achievement of converting West Germany and Japan from mortal enemies to prized allies, and does not shy away from examining his missteps. But underlying all his actions, Beisner shows, was a tough-minded determination to outmatch the strength of the Soviet bloc--indeed, to defeat the Soviet Union at every turn.--From publisher description.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Dean Acheson, secretary of state under President Truman from 1949 to 1953, some of the most tumultuous years in modern American history, has already been the subject of several excellent biographies, e.g., James Chace's Acheson, but his larger-than-life career has finally met its best historian. Beisner (Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898-1900) has spent his retirement from academia immersed in the sources of the early Cold War and has produced a remarkable study. Taking advantage of extensive secondary sources as well as the ever-growing number of oral histories and other primary sources, Beisner has synthesized a wealth of information into a brilliantly crafted narrative that explores not only the policymaking apparatus Acheson created in the State Department but, more important, the personal relationship that developed between the cerebral and urbane Acheson and the homespun and tough-talking Midwestern president. In a period as uncertain and dangerous as those postwar years, Acheson and Truman worked side by side addressing the Soviet Union under Stalin, the rise to power of Mao in China, and the steady progress toward economic and political recovery of the two major defeated Axis powers. Beisner has given Acheson the biography he deserves, and we are all the richer for this outstanding contribution to our literature on the early Cold War years. Highly, highly recommended.-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Retired historian Beisner has written the definitive biography of one of the most influential secretaries of state in US history. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, this book offers keen insights into Acheson's personality, his conceptions of the national interest, political acumen, and, equally important, his relations with President Harry Truman. The book comprehensively surveys key international developments--the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO, National Security Report 68, Korean War, Japanese peace treaty, and policies toward Germany, China, Indochina, Iran, and Guatemala--to make this an invaluable account of Cold War diplomacy and the evolving, increasingly contentious US-Soviet confrontation. Beisner furthermore thoughtfully chronicles the bitter partisan debate leveled by the McCarthyites concerning the Truman administration's foreign policy, and its personal focus on Acheson. The result is a tour de force: a first-rate biography and a major contribution to the historiography on the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the politics of the Truman years. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. A. Theoharis emeritus, Marquette University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Robert L. Beisner taught history at the University of Chicago, Colgate University, and American University, before retiring to write this book. A former president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, his previous books include From the Old Diplomacy to the New,1865-1900 and the award-winning, critically acclaimed Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898-1900. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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