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Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security (Galaxy Books)
Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security (Galaxy Books)
by John Lewis Gaddis
Edition: Paperback
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Foreign Policy Book, April 27, 2000
This great book by John Lewis Gaddis is a rare achievement in the field. It is a necessarily dense assessment of American post-war foreign policy but, at the same time, immensely readable and enjoyable. The focus of the book, as implied by its title, is a deep exploration of the containment strategy as originally authored by George Kennan during his stint in Russia for the State Department. Gaddis explains the origins of containment quite well, but the real genius of the book is the way he takes us on a logical examination of the strategy's evolution into the heart of the Cold War. A nice surprise is learning how American leaders misunderstood the real intentions of George Kennan himself, resulting in military investments of which Kennan did not approve. A particularly fascinating section of the book is Gaddis's descriptions of the Nixon-Kissinger strategy of opening the doors to China as a means of gaining leverage against the Soviets. In these areas Gaddis walks a high-wire balance of strict academia and joyous intrigue. Gaddis doesn't approach this material from any particular political viewpoint, but rather with his own brand of sharp and steely reason. This book truly is a masterpiece and a must-read for anybody serious about American foreign policy. It is the stuff of genius, the core of which is Gaddis's crafty work of combining political science with poetry.

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