Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War

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OUP USA, Apr 23, 2009 - History - 819 pages
2 Reviews
Dean Acheson was one of the most influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history, presiding over American foreign policy during a pivotal era—the decade after World War II when the American Century slipped into high gear. 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 this acclaimed biography, Robert L. Beisner paints an indelible portrait of one of the key figures of the last half-century. In a book filled with insight based on research in government archives, memoirs, letters, and diaries, Beisner illuminates 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. The book also sheds light on Acheson's friendship with Truman—one, a bourbon-drinking mid-Westerner with a homespun disposition, the other, a mustachioed Connecticut dandy who preferred perfect martinis. Over six foot tall, with steel blue, "merry, searching eyes" and a "wolfish" grin, Dean Acheson was an unforgettable character—intellectually brilliant, always debonair, and tough as tempered steel. This lustrous portrait of an immensely accomplished and colorful life is the epitome of the biographer's art.

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Dean Acheson: a life in the Cold War

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review

Review: Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War

User Review  - Benjamin - Goodreads

Very informative book about a very important Chapter in our history and the orgins of the Cold War. I knew very little about Dean Acheson, i recieved a timely education. Read full review

About the author (2009)


Robert L. Beisner is Professor of History Emeritus at American University. A former president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, he lives in Washington, DC.

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