Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1917–2007) was an American historian and social critic. He served as adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. His Journals: 1952– 2000 were published in 2007.


The Turning Point

Following are excerpts from Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s Journals of 1966 and 1967. January 21 [1966] I have been meaning for some time to put down the substance of the evening of January 6 when I assembled Carl Kaysen, Dick Goodwin, and Ken Galbraith for a dinner at 3132 O …

History and National Stupidity

History is not self-executing. You do not put a coin in the slot and have history come out. For the past is a chaos of events and personalities into which we cannot penetrate. It is beyond retrieval and it is beyond reconstruction. All historians know this in their souls. “There …

The Making of a Mess

Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet

by James Mann

A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies

by James Bamford
Who got us into this mess anyway—our headlong plunge into preventive war against Iraq? The formal, and facile, answer is George W. Bush. But our president campaigned four years ago on a promise of humility in foreign policy and a rejection of nation-building as social work. Who persuaded him to …

Eyeless in Iraq

America Unbound: The Bush Revolutionin Foreign Policy

by Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay

The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment

edited by Fred I. Greenstein
President George W. Bush has made a fatal change in the foreign policy of the United States. He has repudiated the strategy that won the cold war—the combination of containment and deterrence carried out through such multilateral agencies as the UN, NATO, and the Organization of American States. The Bush …

The Democratic Autocrat

The Passions of Andrew Jackson

by Andrew Burstein
Historians have recently fallen into the bad habit, initiated by my father in 1948, of rating American presidents in categories from “great” to “failure.” John F. Kennedy, commenting on the Schlesinger polls, observed that war made it easier for a president to achieve greatness. Almost all the presidents voted into …

On Henry Adams’s ‘Democracy’

The novelist insisted on total ano-nymity, instructed his publisher to bring the book out on April Fools’ Day 1880, and took care to be in Europe on publication day. Democracy: An American Novel created a sensation and was a best seller in the United States and England. The author was …

Anguish of a New York Liberal

William Dean Howells’s A Hazard of New Fortunes, published in 1890, is the first memorable novel about New York City. Earlier novelists had touched on aspects of the city; Melville in particular had searing insights in Pierre and in short stories like “Bartleby the Scrivener.” And there was, of course, …