The Irony of American History

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Jan 22, 2010 - Religion - 198 pages
50 Reviews
“[Niebuhr] is one of my favorite philosophers. I take away [from his works] the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away . . . the sense we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard.”—President Barack Obama   Forged during the tumultuous but triumphant postwar years when America came of age as a world power, The Irony of American History is more relevant now than ever before. Cited by politicians as diverse as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Niebuhr’s masterpiece on the incongruity between personal ideals and political reality is both an indictment of American moral complacency and a warning against the arrogance of virtue. Impassioned, eloquent, and deeply perceptive, Niebuhr’s wisdom will cause readers to rethink their assumptions about right and wrong, war and peace.
 “The supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.”—Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Times
“Niebuhr is important for the left today precisely because he warned about America’s tendency—including the left’s tendency—to do bad things in the name of idealism. His thought offers a much better understanding of where the Bush administration went wrong in Iraq.”—Kevin Mattson, The Good Society
 
Irony provides the master key to understanding the myths and delusions that underpin American statecraft. . . . The most important book ever written on US foreign policy.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, from the Introduction
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
18
4 stars
17
3 stars
9
2 stars
5
1 star
1

Review: The Irony of American History

User Review  - Goodreads

the best thing here is the introduction, which sums up the work nicely. inside, the rigid Cold War dichotomy (USA versus Communism ) dates the work and the liberal New Testament quotations makes it ... Read full review

Review: The Irony of American History

User Review  - Tom Schulte - Goodreads

the best thing here is the introduction, which sums up the work nicely. inside, the rigid Cold War dichotomy (USA versus Communism ) dates the work and the liberal New Testament quotations makes it ... Read full review

All 17 reviews »

Contents

I The Ironic Element in the American Situation
1
II The Innocent Nation in an Innocent World
17
III Happiness Prosperity and Virtue
43
IV The Master of Destiny
65
V The Triumph of Experience Over Dogma
89
VI The International Class Struggle
109
VII The American Future
130
VIII The Significance of Irony
151
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2010)

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)taught for many years at Union Theological Seminary, in New York City, as well as lecturing and preaching all over the country. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, he is the author of many books, including The Nature and Destiny of Man.
 
Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of international relations and history at Boston University, is the author of The Long War.    

Bibliographic information