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A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521795371
ISBN-10: 0521795370
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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (December 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521795370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521795371
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
With a keen eye for historical significance, Kevin Hogan surveys the formation of the national security establishment in the Truman and Eisenhower years. A balanced account, this treatment emphasizes the human factor in the arduous negotiations and political conflicts which took place during the late 40's and 50's. A fresh look is taken at Truman, Eisenhower, and the lesser players at the time: Herbert Hoover, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, and Sen. John F. Kennedy. Those not thoroughly familiar with the events of the period will be moved at the story of the nation's top admirals in brazen defiance of Pres. Truman, or the nervous collapse of Truman's beleaguered war secretary. Requires a moderate attention span, but political buffs should enjoy it a great deal.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the best book I have yet come across documenting the debates in post-World War II Washington that led to the dominance of national security thinking and policies. The title is drawn from Dwight Eisenhower's famous speech warning of the rise of the military-industrial complex. After reading this book you come to fully appreciate what Eisenhower was so concerned about.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting book that was a good choice for me and anyone else interested in history of this period of time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A bit scholarly for the general reader, but it opened my eyes to an era of history I had never considered.
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