From Library Journal
Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower. Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex."?Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Historian Hogan, editor of the journal Diplomatic History and author of several books on U.S. foreign relations in the twentieth century, offers this study of the post^-World War II debate within the U.S. about what the nation's world role should be and how our institutions should change to meet that role's demands. The debate pitted supporters of a new national security ideology (e.g., Acheson and Kennan) against representatives of an older political culture (e.g., Taft and Hoover) whose values were antistatist, antimilitarist, and isolationist. Tracing the face-off through many issues--from the National Security Act and universal military service to defense reorganization and budget priorities--Hogan sees both Truman and Eisenhower as figures of compromise. Like congressional Republicans, both presidents wanted to avoid turning the U.S. into a "garrison state," but they shared the national security proponents' conviction that that could be prevented only by a policy of internationalism. In the end, Hogan suggests, "the most important constraints on the national security state were those built into the country's democratic institutions and political culture." Mary Carroll