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Arrogance of Power Hardcover – June 1, 1967


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Hardcover, June 1, 1967
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House (June 1967)
  • ISBN-10: 0394416155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394416151
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,643,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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This book reitterates and represents the attitude of citizens who sincerely desire peace.
N. J. Rios
Fulbright's thesis is that Americans have two sides, one that is humanitarian and one that is puritanical.
C. Brown
I read the book with an initial bias against his views but was completely converted by the end.
Lauriston H. Mccagg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By C. Brown on July 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for all Americans, written by a man who, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the VietNam War period, can write with some authority about international affairs. Fulbright's thesis is that Americans have two sides, one that is humanitarian and one that is puritanical.
While we may want to see others enjoy the virtues of democracy and freedom (our humanitarianism) we tend to approach them with an air of superiority and an inability to see that there are many cultures in the world and that of the U.S. is only one.
How accurate Fulbright is when he says that unilateral aid, either military or economic, can evoke anger and resentment by those who, Americans feel, should be grateful and eager to receive what we have to give.
Fulbright asks Americans to reflect on the fact that ours is a profoundly conservative society which abhors radical change. Others in the world are impatient with the lack of change and can go to extremes that would never be considered in the United States. Fulbright sees this in the discomfort Americans have with revolutions, being good only if they follow the path of our own. Any route that differs from American experience is suspect.
Fulbright rightly sees the strength of American society in the freedom to dissent and laments the fear and approbrium that dissent often receives. Humility is definitely in order instead of loud boasting and self-righteous denunciations (heard any of that lately???)
Tocqueville said of American democracy..."the smallest reproach irritates its sensibility and the slightest joke that has any foundation in truth renders it indignant; from the forms of its language up to the solid virtues of its character, everything must be made the subject of encomium.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on January 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At a time when there were no heart transplants and America had yet to put a man on the moon, one man wrote a book that speaks of our country today as much as it did when he wrote it in 1966.

It is a reflection on what we have become, and the choices we make for our future. There are two competing forces for the direction we take, what the author Senator J. William Fullbright calls two Americas: One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson and the other is of Theodore Roosevelt and the Superpatriots. They are two distinct sides of the American character. The character of Lincoln is rooted in humanism and assumes that America's greatness is its recognition of its imperfections. The character of Roosevelt is rooted in American Exceptionalism, or what the senator refers to as an arrogance of power.

The dominant strand of the American fabric is the democratic humanist one. It is rooted in the principles of our Founding Fathers, humanism, tolerance and accommodation. The coexisting strand is that of Theodore Roosevelt's belief in America's superiority, or what Fullbright sees as intolerant Puritanism. It is the belief that America expresses its cultural superiority through its wealth and dominance, that superiority is measured in military might.

According to Senator Fullbright these forces of the American body politic have been at odds for years with the belief in America's superiority dominating foreign and domestic policy. This is the strand the senator contends must not prevail. This path follows previous empires that failed because rulers did not rule wisely or well.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lauriston H. Mccagg on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was no fan of Fulbright's in the '60s but this book opened my eyes to the startling parallels between then and now, forty years later. It's a "must read" for anybody who wants to put today's global events in perspective. And that his widow, Harriet, was a childhood friend of mine, does not skew this review! I read the book with an initial bias against his views but was completely converted by the end.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By N. J. Rios on December 4, 2005
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This book reitterates and represents the attitude of citizens who sincerely desire peace. Using a humble tone it reminds us the absurdity of war and the dangers of gross nationalism. Reading this book I enjoyed a lovely daydream of the bush administration reading this book with an open mind and appreciating it's message of alternatives to wars of ideology.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is time for everyone to reacquaint themselves with the late Senator Fulbright's gem. This book, sadly enough, accurately describes the events of the past decade, and our confused and contentious domestic and foreign policies. His warnings and prescriptions are still prescient and timely. This book must be read by any "strategic leader" or anyone who cares about politics, policy, and the current state of our government.
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By Kimon Karras on May 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a solid book, which reiterates already known ideas and propounds a more responsible and isolationists policy for the US.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This classic from one of the leading politicians of the late twentieth century is well worth a new read. Just do a global search and replace for Vietnam and use your topic, and the tome remains relevant. I picked this up as a reference from reading something else, and the trip to the past served to remind me not only of the way that power in Washington works, but also that today's complaints are not so new.
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