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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet Paperback – September 7, 2004
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As Mann makes clear, there has never been perfect agreement between all parties, (the relationship between the close duo of Powell and Armitage on one side and Rumsfeld on the other, for instance, has been frosty) but they do share basic values. Whether they came from the armed services, academia, or government bureaucracy, the Vulcans all viewed the Pentagon as the principal institution from which American power should emanate. Their developing philosophy was cemented after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and is best reflected in the decision to invade Iraq. They believe that a powerful military is essential to American interests; that America is ultimately a force for good despite any negative consequences that may arise from American aggression; they are eternally optimistic about American power and dismiss any arguments about over-extension of resources; and they are skeptical about the need to consult allies or form broad global coalitions before acting.
Rise of the Vulcans succeeds on many levels. Mann presents broad themes such as the gradual transition from the Nixon and Kissinger philosophies to the doctrine espoused by Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the rest in clear and logical terms. He also offers minute details and anecdotes about each of the individuals, and the complex relationships between them, that reveal the true personalities behind the politicians. This is essential reading for those seeking to understand the past quarter century and what it means for America's future. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a really excellent work of contemporary history. Journalism, I think someone said, is history's first pass. Well as a first pass, this book is meticulously researched and fairly argued. It is also very well written and tells a gripping story.
It makes the seemingly incomprehensible and incoherent aspects of the Bush foreign policy (at least to a European) entirely credible and logical. Nor is it unsympathetic to the shapers of that policy: Powell/Armitage at the State Department, Rumsfeld/ Wolfowitz at Defence, Rice and Cheney in the White House. It links their personal biographies and life experiences to the policy choices they have made: their desire to see America in the post Vietnam era strong and unencumbered again.
Armitage in particular comes across as quite a compelling guy. The dedicated Navy man and hard-living covert warrior from Vietnam, who dedicates his family life to adopting and helping Vietnamese refugees, his career is nearly destroyed by Ross Perot and Iran/Contra and he rises again through his friendship with Powell. A man who believes more than anything that America should not abandon its allies.
I haven't enjoyed a book about contemporary American policy as much since Fred Kaplan's The Wizards of Armageddon about Bernard Brodie, Albert Wohlstetter, Herman Kahn and the dawn of the atomic age.
Skip all the other political potboilers this season and spend the time with this book. The student of American politics, American history and the curious observer of American foreign policy will find much here to digest and ponder.
Whoever wins the presidency the future of American foreign policy will be shaped by these men (and 1 woman) and their actions and understanding how they got us to where we are will be vitally important.
"Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet" is a history of America's new foreign policy as formulated by the above named individuals. James Mann emphasizes from the start that presidents play a small role in his book. Presidents come and go, but the six individuals in the book have played roles both major and minor in nearly every administration dating back to Nixon. Donald Rumsfeld worked for the Nixon White House as a staff advisor and in the Ford administration as Secretary of Defense.Read more ›
The book is filled with fascinating details, such as Wolfowitz's prescient speech about a new Pearl Harbor, given as a commencement address at West Point in 2001 (p. 291), Bush's giving his OK to Pakistan's becoming a dictatorship (p. 300), the government's plan in the annual Nuclear Posture Review to use small nuclear devices to combat terrorism (p. 314)--which would seem to me to create more and bigger problems than it would solve, and Bush's nickname "Pootie Poot" for Vladimir Putin (p. 288).
The book was published in 2004 and is quite up-to-date, only missing some minor recently uncovered details such as Rumsfeld's calling for an attack on Iraq on September 11, 2001.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While I agree that Mann's book is useful for background, time and events have long exposed the neoconservative sea change that Mann describes as a disaster for the US, the Mideast,... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mark H. Gaffney
Want to know why and who destabilized the Middle East here is a good starting point.Published 10 months ago by dale e. thome
Excellent unbiased and detailed documentation of GWB's main advisers. Mann gives you the facts and lets you come to your own conclusions.Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an interesting, readable and informative book. However, it only tells half the story and in a deceptive way. Read morePublished on March 30, 2013 by K. D. Flagg
This book was recommended to us by a friend who was actually working for the Bush administration during this period. Read morePublished on February 24, 2013 by Michael N. Edwards
Book does an excellent job of illuminating the trends of fascissm found within the Republican party and how "old boy networking" from one Republican adminstration to... Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by Harry
The first and and most serious problem with this book is the title. Whoever picks up this book must think that Jim Mann the nickname for Bush's war cabinet ("the Vulcans") refers... Read morePublished on December 4, 2011 by Jiang Xueqin