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Acheson (1893-1971) was not only present at the creation of the postwar world, he was one of its chief architects. He joined the Department of State in 1941 as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and, with brief intermissions, was continuously involved until 1953, when he left office as Secretary of State at the end of the Truman years. Throughout that time Acheson's was one of the most influential minds and strongest wills at work. It was a period that included World War II, the reconstruction of Europe, the Korean War, the development of nuclear power, the formation of the United Nations and NATO. It involved him at close quarters with a cast that starred Truman, Roosevelt, Churchill, de Gaulle, Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Attlee, Eden Bevin, Schuman, Dulles, de Gasperi, Adenauer, Yoshida, Vishinsky, and Molotov.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780393304121
ISBN-10: 0393304124
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 157mm x 40mm)
Pages: 848
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publish Date: 10-Feb-1988
Country of Publication: United States

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Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A memoir of Mr. Acheson's subordinate service from 1941 to 1947 and of his five years as Secretary of State. The book is suffused with praise of Truman. Its reconstruction of specific engagements like Iran and postwar Germany is detailed, with attention to diplomatic stresses; its recollections of State Department life emphasize administrative problems and the task of putting policies across to Congress. Acheson depicts himself as worker, not architect; basic foreign-policy stands are taken for granted. It is unnecessary to dwell on ideological distortions and evasions - they arise most conspicuously in Acheson's account of the Korean War, which shows how the Chinese were provoked yet terms them "aggressors" off and on. Acheson not only refuses to condescend to argue for his view of Russia as "aggressively expansionist," but censures the "preventive war" advocacy of his opponents. Aphorisms, jokes and reminiscences of individual statesmen from Morgenthau to Mossadegh outweigh salient advice to posterity. Acheson's remarks on the China issue and the McCarthy days are lively and dignified; however, they also clinch the impression of an anti-democratic regard for the American citizenry as primitives open to demagoguery from right or left, and mere troop-suppliers for ventures like Korea, whose sufferings on all sides he quite ignores. As apologetics, the book may be more effective than Truman's memoirs. As analytic history it is less interesting than Kennan's or Ridgway's. As narrative, it's rarely tedious or inspiring although obviously important. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Dean Acheson

Dean Acheson (1893-1971) was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War.

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