George F. Kennan: An American Life (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Penguin, Nov 10, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 800 pages
5 Reviews
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year

Drawing on extensive interviews with George Kennan and exclusive access to his archives, an eminent scholar of the Cold War delivers a revelatory biography of its troubled mastermind.

In the late 1940s, George Kennan wrote two documents, the "Long Telegram" and the "X Article," which set forward the strategy of containment that would define U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union for the next four decades. This achievement alone would qualify him as the most influential American diplomat of the Cold War era. But he was also an architect of the Marshall Plan, a prizewinning historian, and would become one of the most outspoken critics of American diplomacy, politics, and culture during the last half of the twentieth century. Now the full scope of Kennan's long life and vast influence is revealed by one of today's most important Cold War scholars.

Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis began this magisterial history almost thirty years ago, interviewing Kennan frequently and gaining complete access to his voluminous diaries and other personal papers. So frank and detailed were these materials that Kennan and Gaddis agreed that the book would not appear until after Kennan's death. It was well worth the wait: the journals give this book a breathtaking candor and intimacy that match its century-long sweep.

We see Kennan's insecurity as a Midwesterner among elites at Princeton, his budding dissatisfaction with authority and the status quo, his struggles with depression, his gift for satire, and his sharp insights on the policies and people he encountered. Kennan turned these sharp analytical gifts upon himself, even to the point of regularly recording dreams. The result is a remarkably revealing view of how this greatest of Cold War strategists came to doubt his strategy and always doubted himself.

This is a landmark work of history and biography that reveals the vast influence and rich inner landscape of a life that both mirrored and shaped the century it spanned.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
3
4 stars
2
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: George F. Kennan: An American Life

User Review  - Marc Ballon - Goodreads

John Lewish Gaddis is possibly my favorite Cold War historian. His muscular prose keeps this book moving along nicely. However, he sometimes provides too much detail. Read full review

Review: George F. Kennan: An American Life

User Review  - Goodreads

One of the most clear-sighted American thinkers - still not without his shortcomings. His view on immigration was hardly enlightened, nor his view on Latin America. Still his ardent opposition to the ... Read full review

Contents

II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX

IV
V
VI
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
I
II
III
IV
V
I
II
III
IV
V
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
I
II
III
IV
V
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
I
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
X
XI
XII
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
VIII
IX
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
PREFACE
19211925
19251931
19311933
FIVE THE ORIGINS OF SOVIETAMERICAN RELATIONS 19331936
19361938
19381941
19411944
19441945
19451946
1946
1947
19471948
1948
1949
1950
19501951
1952
19531955
19551958
19581963
19631968
19681980
19801990
19912005
EPILOGUE GREATNESS
INTERVIEWSa
OFFICIAL FILES
UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL
BOOKS
ARTICLES
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

John Lewis Gaddis is the Robert A. Lovett Professor of History at Yale University. His previous books include The United States and the Origins of the Cold War; Strategies of Containment; The Long Peace; We Now Know; The Landscape of History; Surprise, Security, and the American Experience; and The Cold War: A New History. Professor Gaddis teaches courses on Cold War history, grand strategy, international studies, and biography; has won two Yale undergraduate teaching awards; was a 2005 recipient of the National Humanities Medal; and is the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for George F. Kennan.

Bibliographic information