The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America's Vital Alliance with Europe

The Atlantic Century: Four Generations of Extraordinary Diplomats who Forged America's Vital Alliance with Europe

by Kenneth Weisbrode
     
 

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The Atlantic Century is the first major historical study to re-examine the American-European partnership with an emphasis on the personalities behind the policy. Our strong system of European alliances built during the last century did not happen serendipitously. It was carefully constructed and cemented by a network of diplomats and politicians, who

Overview


The Atlantic Century is the first major historical study to re-examine the American-European partnership with an emphasis on the personalities behind the policy. Our strong system of European alliances built during the last century did not happen serendipitously. It was carefully constructed and cemented by a network of diplomats and politicians, who imagined, built, and sustained a new international system. In their vision, America and Europe were part of a single cooperative transatlantic community— not rivals or one another’s periodic savior, as they had been during two world wars.

Historian Kenneth Weisbrode reveals—for the first time, warts and all—the insider’s story of such well-known figures as Dean Acheson, W. Averell Harriman, and Henry Kissinger. It is the story of how and why the State Department’s Bureau of European Affairs (EUR)—the “mother bureau” as it was called, the nerve center of the Atlanticists—rose to become the U.S. government’s preeminent foreign policy office.

In today’s fractious world, The Atlantic Century is both timely and telling.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus, 10/1
“Weisbrode’s careful research and serviceable prose add light and dimension to a uniquely Eurocentric moment in American diplomatic history.”

Ernest R. May, former Charles Warren Professor of History, Harvard University
“A model for institutional history…fascinating reading.”

Niall Ferguson, author of The Ascent of Money
The Atlantic Century sheds fascinating light on the role of a key institution in the formulation of American foreign policy in the twentieth century. From World War I to the Cold War, the Bureau of European Affairs played a crucial part in bridging the Atlantic, sometimes leaning against the inclinations of the presidents and secretaries it supposedly served, always ensuring that Europe remained central to American grand strategy. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, Weisbrode’s book not only rescues four generations of diplomats from the condescension of posterity; it also delineates the crucial role of the State Department bureaucracy in shaping American foreign policy.”

Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor to presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush
The Atlantic Century reminds us how important the transatlantic relationship was during the twentieth century and of all the hard work that went into it on the part of many devoted public servants. This book also contains important lessons about diplomacy that remain highly relevant today.”

Ernest R. May, former Charles Warren Professor of History, Harvard University
“A model for institutional history…fascinating reading.”

Martin Walker, Internationale Politik
"...A gem of a book..."

Alexander J. Groth, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs
"The author has the skills of a novelist in presenting all his material about who the players really were, what they thought about foreign policy issues before them, and how they got along--or did not get along--with one another."

Edwina S. Campbell, Foreign Service Journal
"The Atlantic Century is, quite simply, the finest, most balanced work of diplomatic history that I have read in many years... Scholars of American diplomatic history and international relations will find themselves and their students well served by this book's archival and textual richness. And practitioners of American diplomacy will have the added pleasure of reading a work that recognizes the importance of their work, not only in EUR but throughout the State Department and around the world."

Andrew Roberts, Commentary
"It sounds like the plot of a best-selling conspiracy theory novel: deep within the State Department there exists an elite group of largely Ivy League diplomats who, generation after generation, have been sedulously encouraging ever greater European integration... Yet that is essentially the story documented in The Atlantic Century, Kenneth Weisbrode's well-researched and well-written book."
 

Choice
“Intriguingly nuanced, personality-driven narrative of how Atlanticism flourished as a result of individual efforts.  Such perspective adds texture to the chronology of the Cold War.  This expertly researched narrative offers insight into the minds of those ‘small but powerful’ actors who had the innate sense of place to create and maintain a framework of US diplomacy’s finest hour.  Recommended.”. 
 
Martin Walker, Internationale Politik
"...A gem of a book..."
 
Alexander J. Groth, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs
"The author has the skills of a novelist in presenting all his material about who the players really were, what they thought about foreign policy issues before them, and how they got along--or did not get along--with one another."
 
Edwina S. Campbell, Foreign Service Journal

"The Atlantic Century is, quite simply, the finest, most balanced work of diplomatic history that I have read in many years... Scholars of American diplomatic history and international relations will find themselves and their students well served by this book's archival and textual richness. And practitioners of American diplomacy will have the added pleasure of reading a work that recognizes the importance of their work, not only in EUR but throughout the State Department and around the world."

Andrew Roberts, Commentary
"It sounds like the plot of a best-selling conspiracy theory novel: deep within the State Department there exists an elite group of largely Ivy League diplomats who, generation after generation, have been sedulously encouraging ever greater European integration... Yet that is essentially the story documented in The Atlantic Century, Kenneth Weisbrode's well-researched and well-written book."

Kirkus Reviews
The founder and managing editor of New Global Studies examines the history of the State Department's Bureau of European Affairs (EUR) and the foreign officers whose transatlantic diplomacy left the continent mostly peaceful and prosperous at the end of the 20th century. Political, cultural and intellectual ties have always linked Europe and America, but the idea of an Atlantic community is a 20th-century creation, largely the work of four generations of diplomats housed in the EUR. Weisbrode explains the origins of the EUR and its historic status as first among equals within the Department, but he focuses on the period between World War II and the Ford administration, the golden age for the formulation and exercise of policy uniting the United States and Europe. This era, coinciding with the height of the Cold War, saw the cementing of transatlantic solidarity through a variety of military, political and economic arrangements that narrowed the distance between the two continents and made it impossible for the Soviet Union to divide the West against itself. This long-term project of Atlanticism features names well known to the general reader-Marshall, Acheson, Dulles-but could not have succeeded without the dedication of a cadre of professionals whose contributions are acknowledged here. Though names such as Dunn, Hickerson, Hillenbrand, Merchant and Goodpastor ring less resoundingly through history, their work in the trenches helped forward the Atlantic project, softened the occasionally sharp American elbows and ensured that Europeans took part willingly in the alliance. Because it's a history of a bureaucracy, the narrative is sometimes too inside baseball. Indeed, many of the talesthat enliven the story center on personalities like George Kennan, William Bullitt and Chip Bohlen, all committed in varying degrees to the Atlantic project, but none strictly speaking EUR men. Nevertheless, Weisbrode's careful research and serviceable prose add light and dimension to a uniquely Eurocentric moment in American diplomatic history. Of particular interest to specialists and diligent students of 20th-century European and American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306818462
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
11/03/2009
Pages:
470
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.56(d)

Meet the Author


Kenneth Weisbrode is the Vincent Wright Fellow in History at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute, as well as the founder and managing editor of the journal New Global Studies. He lives in Florence, Italy.

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