James Chace is the Paul W. Williams Professor of Government and Public Law at Bard College. He is the author of Acheson and, most recently, 1912: The Election That Changed the Country. He is now working on a biography of Lafayette. (October 2004)

IN THE REVIEW

Empire, Anyone?

Surprise, Security, and the American Experience

by John Lewis Gaddis

War and the American Presidency

by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Both Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and the Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis argue in their new books that recurring cycles of American history do much to explain George Bush’s plans to reform the world. Both historians discuss the precedents for the so-called Bush doctrine—preemptive war, unilateralism, and American hegemony. Schlesinger observes …

The Winning Hand

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom

by Conrad Black

Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship

by Jon Meacham
In 1932, Walter Lippmann famously remarked that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a “pleasant man who without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President.” Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was said to have described FDR, who had just paid him an unexpected visit on …

TR and the Road Not Taken

Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

by Kathleen Dalton
For an increasing number of American politicians, New York’s governor George Pataki and Arizona’s senator John McCain among them, Theodore Roosevelt is the hero president. Polls of American historians over the past decade have placed Roosevelt within the magic circle of great presidents, ranking after Washington, Lincoln, and FDR. People …

Tomorrow the World

First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power

by Warren Zimmermann
Who can doubt that the United States is an imperial power? It is an informal one, to be sure, not colonial in the sense of using military forces and colonial administrators to run territory acquired by the imperial power but rather, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has observed, one “richly equipped …

War Without Risk?

War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals

by David Halberstam
David Halberstam’s account of the policies and the wars that preceded the conflict in Afghanistan brings into sharp perspective the painful lessons of the post–cold war decade. If generals are said to be prepared to fight the last war, one can only hope that they have learned from their mistakes …

The Age of Schlesinger

A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1917-1950

by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
“History,” wrote the British historian C.V. Wedgwood, “is lived forwards but it is written in retrospect. We know the end before we consider the beginning and we can never wholly recapture what it was to know the beginning only.” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s engrossing autobiography of his coming of age …

New World Disorder

A World Transformed

by George Bush and Brent Scowcroft
Although the Clinton administration certainly doesn’t want to admit it, 1999 will mark the eleventh year of the Bush administration—at least as far as foreign policy is concerned. Bush, James Baker, and Brent Scowcroft at first proclaimed that post-Reagan and post-cold war foreign policy would bring about, under US leadership, …