In the Shadow of the Oval Office: Profiles of the National Security Advisers and the Presidents They Served--From JFK to George W. Bush

Overview

The most solemn obligation of any president is to safeguard the nation's security. But the president cannot do this alone. He needs help. In the past half century, presidents have relied on their national security advisers to provide that help.

Who are these people, the powerful officials who operate in the shadow of the Oval Office, often out of public view and accountable only to the presidents who put them there? Some remain obscure even to this day. But quite a number have ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $8.34   
  • New (7) from $17.06   
  • Used (5) from $8.34   
In the Shadow of the Oval Office: Profiles of the National Security Advisers and the Presidents They Served--From JFK to George W. Bush

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$18.21
BN.com price

Overview

The most solemn obligation of any president is to safeguard the nation's security. But the president cannot do this alone. He needs help. In the past half century, presidents have relied on their national security advisers to provide that help.

Who are these people, the powerful officials who operate in the shadow of the Oval Office, often out of public view and accountable only to the presidents who put them there? Some remain obscure even to this day. But quite a number have names that resonate far beyond the foreign policy elite: McGeorge Bundy, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice.

Ivo Daalder and Mac Destler provide the first inside look at how presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush have used their national security advisers to manage America's engagements with the outside world. They paint vivid portraits of the fourteen men and one woman who have occupied the coveted office in the West Wing, detailing their very different personalities, their relations with their presidents, and their policy successes and failures.

It all started with Kennedy and Bundy, the brilliant young Harvard dean who became the nation's first modern national security adviser. While Bundy served Kennedy well, he had difficulty with his successor. Lyndon Johnson needed reassurance more than advice, and Bundy wasn't always willing to give him that. Thus the basic lesson — the president sets the tone and his aides must respond to that reality.

The man who learned the lesson best was someone who operated mainly in the shadows. Brent Scowcroft was the only adviser to serve two presidents, Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. Learning from others' failures, he found the winning formula: gain the trust of colleagues, build a collaborative policy process, and stay close to the president. This formula became the gold standard — all four national security advisers who came after him aspired to be "like Brent."

The next president and national security adviser can learn not only from success, but also from failure. Rice stayed close to George W. Bush — closer perhaps than any adviser before or since. But her closeness did not translate into running an effective policy process, as the disastrous decision to invade Iraq without a plan underscored. It would take years, and another national security aide, to persuade Bush that his Iraq policy was failing and to engineer a policy review that produced the "surge."

The national security adviser has one tough job. There are ways to do it well and ways to do it badly. Daalder and Destler provide plenty of examples of both. This book is a fascinating look at the personalities and processes that shape policy and an indispensable guide to those who want to understand how to operate successfully in the shadow of the Oval Office.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Beginning with the Kennedy years, the role of national security adviser has grown to be one of the most powerful in government. Daalder and Destler provide a colorful, intimate, and revealing look at what it takes to do the job right. By describing the delicate balances, power plays, and personality factors involved, this book shows what really happens in the corridors of the White House." — Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein and Kissinger

"This is a wise, important, and even urgent book. Its astute judgments on the relationships between the national security advisers and the presidents they served over a half-century — the ways they made and implemented foreign policy, and the results, successful to disastrous — should be taken to heart by the next U.S. foreign policy team, and alerts the rest of us to what to watch for." — Elizabeth Drew, author of Citizen McCain

"Every national security adviser in the last fifty years had his or her strengths and weaknesses. Now, for the first time, a book focuses on each of them as individuals, succinctly and precisely. Essential reading for the new administration — and anyone interested in the history of the National Security Council system." — Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

"Given the daunting array of national-security challenges facing the Obama administration, this lucid, insightful, and authoritative book could hardly be more timely. Drawing on their deep knowledge of how the White House and the world work, Daalder and Destler have shed light on one of the most important, but least understood, posts in the U.S. government at a pivotal moment in American foreign policy." — Strobe Talbott, former deputy secretary of state and author of The Great Experiment

"With well-drawn examples, Ivo Daalder and I. M. Destler chart U.S. foreign policy through the prism of the vital but amorphous post of National Security Adviser. Their tracing of bureaucratic intrigue from McGeorge Bundy through Kissinger and Brzezinski to Condoleezza Rice is always fascinating, if not always reassuring." — A.J. Langguth, Our Vietnam: The War 1954-1975

David Ignatius
…[an] excellent new history of the national security adviser's position…The authors, Ivo Daalder and I.M. Destler, combine an insider's focus on process with a scholar's distance and perspective
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

The position of national security adviser is by far the most powerful unelected (and unconfirmed by Congress) post in the federal government, with tremendous influence over American foreign policy (for good and for ill). Daalder (coauthor, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy) and Destler (coauthor, American Trade Politics), foreign policy experts at, respectively, the Brookings Institution and the University of Maryland, do an excellent job of examining the different philosophies and styles of all who have filled the role, from McGeorge Bundy to Condoleezza Rice, as well as how different presidents have deployed the skills of their national security advisers. Unlike Cabinet secretaries, the national security adviser maintains an office in the White House and operates free of the politics and bureaucratic demands of running federal departments. There is no one-size-fits-all mold, and no standard résumé for this vital job. Some advisers have been college professors, others diplomats, still others veterans of the military. Each, as the authors astutely show, has brought unique talents and prejudices to the assignment, and each has left an indelible mark on history. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Scholars Daalder (senior fellow, Brookings Institution; America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy) and Destler (Sch. of Public Policy, Univ. of Maryland: American Trade Politics) have produced a timely survey of national security advisers, members of the President's staff who often wield substantial power despite not going through a public confirmation process. Drawing upon research conducted as part of an oral history project at the University of Maryland and the Brookings Institution, the authors undoubtedly bring the right combination of insight and experience to the story. Starting with the relationship between John F. Kennedy and his adviser, McGeorge Bundy, in 1961, they devote a chapter to each administration up through George W. Bush, describing how these advisers interacted with the President, secretaries of state and defense, and others to shape national security policy. Because it covers such a broad time period, the book introduces a dizzying number of players; a reader without a basic grounding in modern U.S. history could become confused. However, the authors have a readable style and fill a niche in political history with their specific focus. Recommended for undergraduate libraries serving political science students and larger public libraries where there is interest. [See Prepub Alert, LJ10/15/08.]
—Elizabeth Goldman

Kirkus Reviews
The history of recent presidents' influential top advisers, heavy on political maneuvering but never dull. According to the Constitution, counseling the president is the Cabinet's job. But as the government grew larger in the 20th century, write the authors, presidents often found Cabinet secretaries too partisan on behalf of their various departments. For disinterested advice, they increasingly relied on trusted intimates: Colonel House, "neither elected nor appointed to any office," served as Woodrow Wilson's de facto secretary of state at the 1919 Paris Peace conference, while Harry Hopkins was FDR's primary diplomat during World War II despite holding no foreign-policy position. Unhappy with this ad hoc arrangement, Congress passed the National Security Act in 1947 to create a distinct executive organization, the National Security Council. It remained a minor department until 1961, when Kennedy gave broad, day-to-day responsibility for coordinating foreign policy (and a large office in the West Wing) to a man he had chosen personally, the dean of faculty at Harvard. Like many of his successors, McGeorge Bundy was an academic who had never held a top government position; his overriding qualification was that the president knew him and wanted him. He took advantage of this intimacy to become a major source of foreign-policy advice, overshadowing Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Former NSC staffer Daalder and co-author Destler (Public Policy/Univ. of Maryland), who have both published technical works on foreign policy, deliver a surprisingly lively account of Bundy and his 14 successors, their complex relationship with the president and often-stormy interactions with the cabinet and media.Some advisors (Bundy, Brent Scowcroft, Steven Hadley) ran an efficient department that emphasized delivering policy advice. Others (Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Condoleezza Rice) became powerful figures, opposing and even feuding with the secretaries of state. A revealing, unsettling look at how our presidents receive advice on foreign policy. Agent: Andrew Stuart/The Stuart Agency
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416553205
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/5/2011
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 868,950
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivo Daalder served on the national security council staff in the Clinton administration and is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (with James M. Lindsay), won the 2003 Lionel Gelber Prize.

I. M. Destler is a professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. His previous books include the awardwinning American Trade Politics and (with Leslie Gelb and Anthony Lake) Our Own Worst Enemy: The Unmaking of American Foreign Policy.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 "The President Needs Help" 1

2 "You Can't Beat Brains" 12

3 "You Don't Tell Anybody" 57

4 "I Would Never Be Bored" 94

5 "Serious Mistakes Were Made" 127

6 "Brent Doesn't Want Anything" 168

7 "You Have to Drive the Process" 205

8 "I'm a Gut Player" 250

9 "Trust Is the Coin of the Realm" 299

Notes 329

Acknowledgments 369

Index 371

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)