Robert G. Kaiser is a former Managing Editor and Associate Editor at The Washington Post, for which he reported from Vietnam between 1969 and 1970. His most recent book is Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t. (June 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

The Meddling American

Edward Lansdale (second row, hand on hat) standing behind Lieutenant General John W. ‘Iron Mike’ O’Daniel, commander of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group (left), Ambassador G. Frederick Reinhardt (center), and Ngo Dinh Diem (right), Saigon, 1955

The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam

by Max Boot
On the long list of people who played important parts in America’s calamitous war in Vietnam, few were more important than Edward Geary Lansdale. Born in 1908, Lansdale was a swashbuckling Air Force officer who (though he long hid the fact) worked in the Philippines from 1945 until 1954 for …

The Closed Mind of Mitch

The Long Game: A Memoir

by Mitch McConnell

The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell

by Alec MacGillis
That Mitch McConnell became a prominent public figure because of his battles against limits on campaign spending is entirely apt. His career spans the era in which money has become the dominant force in our elections, and this suits him fine.

The Disaster of Richard Nixon

Being Nixon: A Man Divided

by Evan Thomas

Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War, and the Casualties of Reelection

by Ken Hughes
Thanks to his gross abuses of presidential power symbolized by the Watergate scandal and to his own decision to record the details of his presidency on tape, Nixon seems destined to remain an object of fascination, amazement, scorn, and disgust for as long as historians pay attention to the American presidency. When the subject matter is their foreign policy, Nixon’s sidekick, Henry A. Kissinger, will be right there beside him.

The Great Days of Joe Alsop

Joseph Alsop, Washington, D.C., 1969

The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington

by Gregg Herken
Here is an example of how things once worked in Washington. On July 30, 1958, Joseph Alsop, a leading pundit of the day whose column appeared in The Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune, published an alarming commentary on the missile “gap” he said was about to open …

Our Conservative, Criminal Politicians

Nancy and Ronald Reagan at the Republican National Convention, Kansas City, Missouri, 1976

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

by Rick Perlstein

The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It

by John W. Dean
“We are living under the reign of government gone amuck,” the keynote speaker proclaimed: At every station in this society…government is feared and distrusted…. It is the Democrat Party…which has built the federal bureaucracy ever larger and larger and directed the agents of that bureaucracy to penetrate ever deeper and …