books of the month twitter
Search our site
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber Read the opening extract of the brand new Kathleen Barber book before its publication on 27/12/2017

Blind Oracles Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger by Bruce Kuklick
  

Blind Oracles Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger

Synopsis

Blind Oracles Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger by Bruce Kuklick

In this trenchant analysis, historian Bruce Kuklick examines the role of intellectuals in foreign policymaking. He recounts the history of the development of ideas about strategy and foreign policy during a critical period in American history: the era of the nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. The book looks at how the country's foremost thinkers advanced their ideas during this time of United States expansionism, a period that culminated in the Vietnam War and detente with the Soviets. Beginning with George Kennan after World War II, and concluding with Henry Kissinger and the Vietnam War, Kuklick examines the role of both institutional policymakers such as those at The Rand Corporation and Harvard's Kennedy School, and individual thinkers including Paul Nitze, McGeorge Bundy, and Walt Rostow. Kuklick contends that the figures having the most influence on American strategy--Kissinger, for example--clearly understood the way politics and the exercise of power affects policymaking. Other brilliant thinkers, on the other hand, often played a minor role, providing, at best, a rationale for policies adopted for political reasons. At a time when the role of the neoconservatives' influence over American foreign policy is a subject of intense debate, this book offers important insight into the function of intellectuals in foreign policymaking.

Reviews

Blind Oracles ... brilliantly combines in concise yet penetrating fashion analysis and reflection on a range of intellectuals... [I]t provides a fascinating study of the role of ideas and intellectuals, the methodological approaches and interpretive frameworks associated with realism, liberalism and so forth that are not only seen as abstract formulae but provide a demonstration of how these ideas are injected into policy and used by the policy-makers on the central issues of war from the origins of the Cold War, through Cuba and on to Vietnam. --David Ryan, International Affairs A provocative exploration of the connection between knowledge and politics that evaluates the role of intellectuals in formulating US foreign policy form 1945 to 1975, Kuklick divides his learned actors into three groups: scientifically oriented experts attached to the RAND Corporation; foreign policy academics, mostly social scientists who were associated with Richard Neustadt and Ernest May; and the university-based academics, such as McGeorge Bundy and Henry Kissinger. The value of Kuklick's analysis resides in the connections he makes between the individuals in each group; his assessment of their commitment to the theoretical principles he outlines; and his evaluation of the practical consequences of the intellectuals
approaches

... Kuklick concludes that the impact of ideas on policy was often minimal, unintentional, and less significant than political considerations. --Choice Bruce Kuklick has written an engaging and important study of the national security concepts of intellectuals and their influence on the policies of the United States during the period between the end of World War II and the Vietnam War... Kuklick ... demonstrates ... an impressive capacity to relate ideas to politics and diplomacy. --Gary R. Hess, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society The thesis of the book can be simply stated. The foreign policy intellectuals who applied academic expertise to Cold War issues were mostly misguided... This volume is likely to provoke an interesting debate about the role of academics and social science theories in contemporary American foreign policy. In that debate, it will not be hard to know where Kuklick stands. --Robert A. Strong, Journal of American History Kuklick's is ... an informative and persuasive account of a significant subject matter, argued with skill and eruditeness. In recounting the origins and evolutions of intellectual and strategic thought, Kuklick offers a powerful deconstruction of the individuals and organizations of the epoch. --Kaeten Mistry, 49th Parallel Creative, ambitious, and stimulating, Blind Oracles is conceived as something more than just a straight history of ideas about international affairs. It explores not just the content of these thinkers
ideas but how the ideas played out when put into practice

... [A] distinctive addition to the literature on Cold War thought. --David Greenberg, Political Science Quarterly [T]his brief but rich study offers more insights per page than just about any other work on the Cold War of which this reader knows. --Frank Ninkovich, The Historian


About the Author

Bruce Kuklick is the Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. He has written several books in American intellectual history and in American intellectual, political, and diplomatic history.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

16th July 2007

Author

Bruce Kuklick

More books by Bruce Kuklick
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

Princeton University Press

Format

Paperback
264 pages

Categories

International relations
History of the Americas

ISBN

9780691133874

Insightful reader reviews and unbiased recommendations. I don't know how I chose books before Lovereading! An essential for all book lovers.

Sarah Harper

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

It's information about new books so, for a book lover like me, what's not to like!

Joan Hill

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson

It has enriched my leisure time by introducing me to a world of books which I would not have previously considered.

Val Rowe

I love reading because my cares & woes vanish for an hour or two whilst I read of the joys, adventures, lives of the characters in the book.

Jennifer Moville

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools