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Mr. Social Security: The Life of Wilbur J. Cohen Hardcover – April 28, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Bureaucrat and technocrat par excellence, Cohen (1913-1987), the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants in Milwaukee, became one of the chief architects of America's welfare state. He served for a few months in 1968 as secretary of health, education and welfare in Lyndon Johnson's cabinet, having been an assistant secretary from 1960 to 1965 and undersecretary until his elevation, but he was far more influential than those posts would suggest. Arriving in Washington in 1934, he was employed by the fledgling Social Security Administration and played an important role as Social Security was broadened and expanded. He also was instrumental in maneuvering the Eisenhower administration to accept the concept of social insurance, thus assuring bipartisan support for the entire program. Berkowitz (America's Welfare State) stresses that Cohen was not a theoretician but a pragmatist. This little-known public servant is fittingly restored to prominence in these pages. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Wilbur Cohen was present and active at the defining points through which an initially fragile Social Security system became the central core of America’s welfare state. In this marvelously rich volume Berkowitz not only captures the complexities of Cohen’s personality, outlook, and administrative style but also uses him to illuminate the changing role of the bureaucratic consensus builder in America. A major achievement."—Ellis W. Hawley, author of The New Deal and the Problem of Monopoly "The life of Wilbur Cohen, as Berkowitz admirably shows, provides a window on the entire process of statebuilding for Social Security in America. This is a major contribution to American political history."—Theda Skocpol, author of Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States "A fascinating portrait of one of the giants of twentieth-century American public life. A triumph of sound and imaginative scholarship."—Theodore Marmor, author of Understanding Health Care Reform and The Politics of Medicare "No one worked longer, harder, or more effectively to build the American welfare state than Wilbur Cohen. He is the perfect subject for giving policy history a human face."—Martha Derthick, author of Policymaking for Social Security "Must reading for anyone who wants to understand our Social Security program by seeing how it developed from the start. An enchanting read about an intensely brilliant person."—Robert J. Myers, author of Social Security and former Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration "Essential reading for those who wish to understand the incremental politics that characterized policymaking in the U.S. from the Progressive era through the Reagan years."—W. Andrew Achenbaum, author of Social Security: Visions and Revisions "Will be as indispensable to those who applaud the collapse of liberalism as it will be to those who hope to revive the ideology that Cohen personified."—Louis Galambos, editor of The New American State: Federal Bureaucracies and Policies since World War II