The distinguished historian Melvyn P. Leffler homes in on four crucial episodes when American and Soviet leaders considered modulating, avoiding, or ending hostilities and asks why they failed: Stalin and Truman devising new policies after 1945; Malenkov and Eisenhower exploring the chance for peace after Stalin's death in 1953; Kennedy, Khrushchev, and LBJ trying to reduce tensions after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962; and Brezhnev and Carter aiming to sustain détente after the Helsinki Conference of 1975. All these leaders glimpsed possibilities for peace, yet they allowed ideologies, political pressures, the expectations of allies and clients, the dynamics of the international system, and their own fearful memories to trap them in a cycle of hostility that seemed to have no end.
For the Soul of Mankind illuminates how Reagan, Bush, and, above all, Gorbachev finally extricated themselves from the policies and mind-sets that had imprisoned their predecessors, and were able to reconfigure Soviet-American relations after decades of confrontation.
Whitcomb shows that the American foreign affairs tradition led the country to entertain persistent misperceptions of the realities of the international arena in which it had to function. At the same time, Whitcomb points to the incompatability between many of the nation's most cherished values and the habits of action that Americans exhibited in their relationships with other states. An important post-revisionist view, this book will be of interest to American foreign policy for scholars and students alike.
Ebenstein enlightens the personal and intellectual relationships among leading figures in economics at the University of Chicago, including Jacob Viner, Frank Knight, Henry Simons, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Aaron Director, and Friedrich Hayek. He recasts classical liberal thought from Adam Smith to the present.