Ronald Steel is Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California, a recent fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and the author of biographies of Walter Lippmann and Robert Kennedy.


All You Need Is Love

A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan

by Michael Kazin
There is something eerily contemporary about William Jennings Bryan, the perennial Democratic presidential candidate of a century ago. Not his attacks on bankers who squeezed prairie farmers with high-interest loans. Not his diatribes about the evils of drink. And certainly not his aversion to militarism and imperialist wars—however admirable at …

James Chace (1931–2004)

James Chace, who died of a heart attack in Paris in October just a week shy of his seventy-third birthday, examined the foreign affairs of the nation with sharp insights and finely chiseled words. Newspaper obituaries referred to him as a “foreign policy thinker,” a description that sounds both vague …

Where It Began

1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs—The Election That Changed the Country

by James Chace
Imagine that John McCain challenges George W. Bush in the primaries for the Republican presidential nomination—and on being defeated by the Old Guard bosses launches his own political party. On the campaign trail he electrifies his followers by declaring that the federal government is “the steward of public welfare” and—in …

George Kennan at 100

George Kennan, who recently celebrated his hundredth birthday, has been best known as the author of the containment doctrine—an ill-defined formula he proposed as a government official early in the cold war for confronting the Soviet Union with a vigorous American “counterforce.” This is a great pity, for it is …

The Missionary

Wilsonianism: Woodrow Wilson and His Legacy in American Foreign Relations

by Lloyd E. Ambrosius

Woodrow Wilson

by H.W. Brands
During the past dozen years the image of Woodrow Wilson has undergone a remarkable transformation. The saintly idealist inspired by utopian visions of global brotherhood has been given a new identity as a crusading imperialist warrior. To the chagrin of his old liberal admirers and the applause of his new …

Big Daddy

Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy

edited by Amanda Smith
Joseph Kennedy lived an ironic life. Were it not for the political celebrity of his sons, he would long ago have sunk into the tenebrous depths where other speculators and moguls of the 1920s and 1930s lie. But were it not for his money and insatiable ambition, they would have …

Mr. Fix-It

Woodrow Wilson

by Louis Auchincloss
The most inspirational of American presidents, Woodrow Wilson is also in some ways the most representative. In his idealism, his moralizing, and his insatiable tinkering to make everything better for everyone’s own good, he is America’s inner self. That is why we can never escape him. Nor is there any …