One of a select group of American foreign service officers to receive specialized training on the Soviet Union in the late 1920s and early 1930s, George Frost Kennan eventually became the American government's chief expert on Soviet affairs during the height of the Cold War.
Drawing upon a wealth of original research, David Mayers' fascinating life of George Kennan examines his high-level participation in foreign policy-making and interprets his political and philosophical development within a historical framework. Mayers presents an engaging and lucid account of Kennan's training; his rise to prominence during the late 1940s and his policy failures; and his later roles as critic of America's external policy, advocate of dA(c)tente with the Soviet Union, and proponent of nuclear arms limitation. Mayers also explores Kennan's complicated relationships with such important political figures and analysts as Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, and Walter Lippmann.
"This book has great possibilities as a focused survey to accompany Paterson's Meeting the Communist Threat, carrying Kennan through his creative phase down through his years as a critic of U.S. foreign policy to his vindication when the Soviet Union collapsed. This book has the great advantage of
personalizing the Cold War in a way that will enable students to grasp and retain its concepts much better than in an impersonal account!"--John R.M. Wilson, Southern California College
"An articulate, well-researched, intellectual biography."--The International History Review
"A magisterial on George Frost Kennan's enormous influence....Eminently well suited for professionals in the area of foreign policymaking and diplomatic history, as well as for an audience of mature university students....The definitive work on the subject."--Perspective
"This well-written analysis of George Kennan's career as a scholar-diplomat shed new light on the complexities of a professional life whose broad outlines are known to general readers as well as specialists....[Kennan] has found a worthy intellectual biographer in David Mayers."--International
"A conscientious and scrupulously fair scholar, Mayers examines Kennan's works and career with a thoroughness never before attempted....[This] is a serious work that provides the best detailed account we have of Kennan as diplomat, analyst, and critic."--Ronald Steel, The New York Review of Books