Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Luxury Beauty Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $15 Off All-New Fire Kindle Voyage Cyber Monday Video Game Deals Outdoor Deals on Tikes
The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Book is in very good condition. It may have some slight wear and possibly include a previous ownerâ€TMs name. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made Paperback – June 4, 1997

95 customer reviews

See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, June 4, 1997
$5.88 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This extensive group-portrait by two Time news editors trumpets the role of six policymakersDean Acheson, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, John McCloy Jr., Charles Bohlen, Robert Lovettin taking postWW II America from isolationism to a recognition that the U.S. "would have to assume the burden of a global role." The irony is that, as elder statesmen, they sometimes warned against the interventionist momentum they had helped create, as this behind-the-scenes account makes clear. The authors' portrayal of the six as the hidden architects behind the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan and Cold War containment will certainly provoke debate. Based on prodigious research, including interviews with four of the six, the tome often sounds like an official biography ("Kennan had tortuously conflicted feelings about being tapped to be part of the American elite") and the prose echoes Time's style (Dean Rusk, "the round-faced Georgian"). History buffs will follow with interest the minor revelations that spill forth as the six advise presidents from F. D. R. to L. B. J. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The authors, Time editors, chronicle the activities of six gifted friendsDean Acheson, Charles E. Bohlen, W. Averell Harriman, George Kennan, Robert Lovett, and John J. McCloywho were instrumental in developing U.S. diplomacy from the 1930s to the Vietnam War. Nurtured in the innocent internationalism of Woodrow Wilson, they applied their Ivy League educations to a variety of crises. Their successes outweighed their failures, and their service promoted the values of free trade, democratic capitalism, international cooperation, and pragmatism. Their lives provide a history of America's policy-making elite. But elitism breeds insularity, and the shift away from great wars between industrialized nations and toward small unit actions in wars of national liberation was not recognized by these men. Though superbly written, this book's primary value is anecdotal. James L . Jablonowski, History Dept., Marquette Univ., Milwaukee
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 4, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684837714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684837710
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #983,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Mark S. Kucinic on January 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
In a 1996 interview with David Gergen on NPR, one of this book's central characters makes a case for, what I will hazard to suggest, is one of the authors' central views;

DAVID GERGEN: Let me ask you this in terms of thinking back over then of that period of American foreign policy in the last forty or fifty years, one of the ironies here is that in an age of information you suggest we have too little wisdom.
GEORGE KENNAN: Yes, I do, and one of the things that bothers me about the computer culture of the present age is that one of the things of which it seems to me we have the least need is further information. What we really need is intelligent guidance in what to do with the information we've got.

Thus The Wise Men becomes a paean to, as the authors' admit at the outset, "the twentieth-century tradition of an informal brain trust of internationalists who first served Woodrow Wilson at Versailles and returned home to found the Council on Foreign Relations, " establishing along the way, "a distinguished network connecting Wall Street, Washington, worthy foundations, and proper clubs." The polemics about where one finds wisdom aside, The Wise Men provides a fascinating and uncompromising study of the evolution of U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis the Soviet Union from the establishment of formal relations during the Roosevelt administration to Vietnam from the perspective of six of it's most significant players; Dean Acheson, Charles "Chip" Bohlen, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, Robert Lovett and John McCloy with side trips into electoral politics and the Middle East.
Read more ›
9 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
56 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Gio on July 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
... of a ten-year-old book that shouldn't be forgotten, the "biography" of American foreign policy from the Truman years to the apotheosis of Reagan. Like most biographies, this one concentrates on the childhood of the Cold War containment/exhaustion strategy, the DNA so to speak of neo-conservatism, born of a Democratic mother and a Republican father. Any reader of my other reviews, who doubts my assertion that Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Bush were mere inheritors of a foreign policy as rigidly sustained as if by primogeniture, should take on this book as ferociously as you dare.

The six Wise Men -- McCloy, Bohlen, Acheson, Lovett, Harriman, and Kennan -- would be the last to blush at being identified as "The Greatest Generation" or "The Best and the Brightest." Their egos and their sense of elite entitlement to lead are central to their story. This is a deeper portrait of their intellectual mode than either of those two just-mentioned best-sellers. Authors Isaacson and Thomas are clearly of the same "old school" as their subjects. Their admiration is in a sense self-adulation; even when the Wise Men acknowledged errors, the very nature of their errors turned out to reflect wisdom. My own admiration for the six is considerably more limited, but it's hard to deny the authors' thesis that these Yale and Harvard whiz-kids and their colleagues were the movers-and-shakers of administration after administration. Even as some of them lost a portion of their self-assurance in light of the massive failure in Vietnam, they continued to limn the hegemonist, exceptionalist conception of America which has continued to fail up to the current massive failure in Iraq. Given that all six were perceived as "liberals" aligned with Democratic administrations, some partisans of the other party may come to this book with an established antipathy toward its subjects. All I can say to that is "read it and learn!"
17 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
64 of 79 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastically interesting. The detail and the descriptions of personalities involved make the subject matter more than palatable, even to the less scholarly among us. The book is, however, very, very long and would have perhaps been better broken up into several volumes. I would characterize it as very well written, exhaustively researched, slightly fawning and uncritical at times, and, in general, well worth lugging around.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
60 of 76 people found the following review helpful By R. Hallberg on March 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
A very interesting book, but you have to be able to read between

the lines. Isaacson paints a picture of six powerful men who did

everything they could for US and mankind in general.

Another reviewer used the words fawning and uncritical to

describe the book. Well, there is a good reason for that.

Walter Isaacson, head of Aspen Institute, is himself a member

of the same "Insider Establishment" as the six men in

the book.

For kissing up, he has also been made a member of the

powerful Council on Foreign Relations.

This book should be combined with other more critical or

even negative writings on the subject to help build a more

realistic view.

For example I recommend books by the late Anthony Sutton.

Averell Harriman was a particularly unsavoury character, a

notorious Bilderberger, whose nefarious machinations are

becoming more and more known to the public, even

though still much is suppressed by the media.

Some people I have talked to think that the book should be called "the Wise Guys" instead of "the Wise Men" , but personally I wouldn't go that far.

The world isn't just black and white after all. These guys

looked after their own like everybody else on the planet and maybe, just maybe, in the meantime something good came out of it.
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: biography books