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War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals Paperback – September 4, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 557 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (September 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743223233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743223232
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of 17 books, David Halberstam has a gift for bringing current events alive and putting them into historical perspective in an engaging way. In many respects, War in a Time of Peace serves as a sequel to his classic The Best and the Brightest in its examination of how the lessons of Vietnam have influenced American foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. Beginning with the Persian Gulf War, Halberstam discusses the political shift in emphasis from foreign to domestic issues that ushered in the first Clinton administration. Despite the fact that Clinton, along with much of the country, preferred to focus on the home front, the U.S. nonetheless found itself drawn into conflicts in Haiti, Somalia, and the Balkans--events that reflected American discomfort with the use of its military forces abroad while at the same time acknowledging that much of the world is dependent upon the U.S. for both guidance and support. The book also highlights the many nonpolitical factors that have influenced these political changes, including a generational shift in national leadership, the modern media's emphasis on entertainment over foreign news, a leap in military technology, and American economic prosperity that has rendered foreign policy largely irrelevant to many citizens.

Halberstam is a master at presenting well-rounded portraits and telling anecdotes of the personalities that have created U.S. policy, casting new light on well-known figures such as Clinton, Colin Powell, and George H.W. Bush, as well as supporting players such as Anthony Lake, Richard Holbrooke, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, General Wesley Clark, Al Gore, and many other influential American leaders of the past decade. Having covered many aspects of American history and foreign policy since the early 1960s, Halberstam is uniquely qualified to report on an era in which the U.S., and the world, has changed so dramatically. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals by David Halberstam. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian looks at events that have shaped contemporary politics and political leaders in Washington.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

As usual, Halberstam's book is very well researched, with fascinating insights.
Hilde Bygdevoll
While Halberstam devotes the majority of the book to crises in the Balkans, he also devotes space to Somalia and Rwanda.
Jeffrey E. Mccarthy
This book examines the foreign policy at the end of the Bush administration and through the Clinton years.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Craig L. Howe on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a professor who defined journalism as "history written in a hurry." In his sequel to The Best And The Brightest author David Halberstam uses the journalist's tools - personal interviews and background research - to explore how the shadow of Vietnam and the Cold War shaped the United States' foreign policy during the 1990s.
What emerges, is a thoughtful, portrait of the United States from the perspective of its foreign policy decisions. It is a book written for thoughtful citizens; a book that, clearly, was not written in a hurry; a book that unearths the struggles, egos and the political maneuvering among the key figures in The White House, the State Department and the military. Halberstam shows how the decisions of Vietnam War Veterans, like Colin Powell and Anthony Lake, and those who were not, like President William Clinton, influenced American politics and policy.
Lesser-known players who contributed to the picture were not overlooked. Halberstam notes that the irony of the Gulf War was the wrong branch of the service and the wrong military leaders were celebrated at its conclusion. Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell received ovations for their humiliation of an allegedly mighty, but now bedraggled Iraqi Army.
If one man was responsible, he notes, it was an innovative air force strategist, Colonel John Warden. At the time of the Gulf War, Warden was the head of a top-secret air force group working within The Pentagon and represented a group of younger military officers who were eager to adapt military thinking and planning to the uses of the new technological advanced weaponry.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tony Sanchez on November 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was a tough read because of the author�s too frequent clauses within nearly every sentence. Also, there are many names to remember, and the publisher could have provided a map of the region in question. Otherwise, I would have given this book a full 5 star rating.

That aside, this was an exceptionally good book on the recent Balkan war that was fought by NATO. The Balkan war is notable in military history for being the first war waged and won strictly through the use of air power. It is also considered Pres. Clinton�s greatest foreign policy success.
As military history, the book is a worthwhile read. The author, however, ventures beyond the military aspects to tie in the political, historical, sociological, and psychological countenance of the individuals involved with the campaign. I found it of particular interest to read about the pettiness of the military structure as it related to the president, and its own field commander.
The author is not shy in offering his analysis of each major character, but he remained even-handed. He, for example, described the power of Gen. Powell�s personality, but who also used his position to prematurely close discussion on important international issues. He similarly discusses other major characters (especially Clinton, Gore, Gen. Clark and Bush I).
The author does not attempt to present the most encompassing story of the war, and he is generous in citing authors of very recent publications including the recent memoirs of NATO commander Clark. The serious student will be able to find greater detail of the Balkans, the diplomacy, and the Serbian genocide from these other authors.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on May 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For those of us who marveled at former journalist David Halberstam's masterful account of the ways in which the personal biographies and contemporary history fatefully intersected to produce the disastrous American incursion into Vietnam in 1970's "The Best And The Brightest", his recent (2001) tome "War In A Time Of Peace" is the long-awaited sequel and companion piece on the ways in which the ghost of our involvement in southeast Asia yet haunts America's role in foreign affairs in the late 20th century. As in the previous work, Halberstam's trademark insights into the ways in which personal ambitions and private agendas fuel and contort the political processes of which American foreign policy is a part make this book memorable and worthwhile. For example, his observation's on former Secretary of State Madeline Albright's arrogant attempt to nation-build in Somalia makes it easier to understand lapses in our policy there that led to the now-famous firefight chronicled so brilliantly in "Blackhawk Down", resulting in several dozen American causalities and hundreds if not thousands of dead and wounded Somalis.
His brilliance is in showing how these individual personalities interact, often clashing based on the existential circumstances they find themselves embroiled in. Thus does Army General Wes Clark find himself embroiled in a very difficult conundrum in the Balkans, facing both an intransigent enemy and an uncertain and indecisive command structure by way of both President Clinton and the Joint Chiefs.
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