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Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy
     

Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy

by George F. Kennan
 

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“[Kennan] comes to us…as ambassador of a generation nearly gone and a conservatism so responsible, dutiful and so long extinct it may look revolutionary….As ever, Kennan in the present book has fulfilled his responsibility admirably.” —Chicago Tribune
"I have attempted to take the high ground,” writes George F. Kennan in the

Overview

“[Kennan] comes to us…as ambassador of a generation nearly gone and a conservatism so responsible, dutiful and so long extinct it may look revolutionary….As ever, Kennan in the present book has fulfilled his responsibility admirably.” —Chicago Tribune
"I have attempted to take the high ground,” writes George F. Kennan in the foreword to this illuminating work, "trying to stick to the broader dimensions of things—the ones that would still be visible and significant in future decades." Against the background of a century of wars, revolution, and uneasy peace, Mr. Kennan advances his thoughts on a broad front: how the individual's quest for power can transform a government into a confusion of ambition, rivalry, and suspicion; how a nation's size can create barriers between the rulers and the ruled; why America must first set its own house in order before it can become a beacon to others. Deeply aware of the pressures under which public officials must act, Mr. Kennan sees a government in Washington that is forced to make decisions on issues of the moment, often without regard for long-term consequences. Neither the legislature, responsive to the interests of a narrow constituency, nor the executive branch, swamped by urgent problems at home and abroad, has the time or inclination to look far beyond the next election. Lost entirely is a vital element in any democracy: deliberation based upon study, review, and judgment. To address problems that defy quick political solutions, Mr. Kennan here boldly lays down a blueprint for a Council of State, a nonpolitical, permanent advisory board that would stand alongside yet apart from government policy makers, with the prestige to be heard "above the cacophony of political ambitions." Rich in historical example, this volume is a brilliant summing up of the experience and thought of the man the Atlantic described in a cover story entitled "The Last Wise Man" as: "diplomat, scholar, writer of rare literary gifts, one of most remarkable Americans of this century."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kennan airs controversial opinions in this book of personal and political reflections. Deeming the U.S. to be severely overpopulated, he dreams of a decentralized America broken into 12 constituent republics. He opposes ``forced desegregation'' of schools and urges U.S. leaders to adopt a modest foreign policy with a minimum of external involvement and large cutbacks in foreign aid. The goal, he stresses, should be to get our own house in order. ``We are a nation of bad social habits,'' he chides, citing the national addictions to television, the automobile and junk mail. To tap the wisdom of the citizenry, the eminent scholar-statesman (author of 18 books; former ambassador to the Soviet Union) calls for the creation of a Council of State, an advisory body to the federal government that would address public-policy issues. He also sets forth his thoughts on what he calls ``the demonic side of human nature,'' defined as our instinctive compulsion to sexual activity and the ego's endless search for reassurance. (Jan.)
Library Journal
The guiding intellect behind the postwar policy of containment and author of a dozen books, Kennan has figured prominently in foreign policy debates since World War II. In this tightly written and somber book, he reflects on the state of his country and what needs to be done. His thoughts are wide-ranging, covering American government, political ideology, and faith. In the second part of his book, Kennan addresses both domestic and foreign policy concerns. His most novel suggestion calls for the creation of a permanent advisory body, which he calls the Council of State, consisting of citizens with various talents who would serve as a sounding board for policy debates. This is not easy reading, but it is essential for those seeking to better understand the enigma that is is George Kennan. Recommended for academic collec tions.-- Ed Goedeken, Purdue Univ. Libs., West Lafayette, Ind.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393311457
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/17/1994
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
905,633
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

George F. Kennan was America’s most acclaimed Cold War diplomat as well as a prize-winning historian and author.

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