In the Shadows of History: Fifty Years Behind the Scenes of Cold War Diplomacy

Overview

During his long, distinguished career, Chester L. Cooper has served in the White House, State Department, and CIA, often as a deputy to such high-profile statesman as John Foster Dulles and Averell Harriman. He has been near the center of power during many of the crises of our nation’s recent history.

In this engrossing memoir, he offers an insider’s glimpse into the memorable events and important decisions in which he personally participated — from the conflict over the Suez ...

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Overview

During his long, distinguished career, Chester L. Cooper has served in the White House, State Department, and CIA, often as a deputy to such high-profile statesman as John Foster Dulles and Averell Harriman. He has been near the center of power during many of the crises of our nation’s recent history.

In this engrossing memoir, he offers an insider’s glimpse into the memorable events and important decisions in which he personally participated — from the conflict over the Suez Canal in 1956 and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 to the difficult peace negotiations of the Viet Nam War, dealing with Soviet officials during the Reagan years, and today addressing the problems of global climate change.

Cooper notes that policy-making "does not emerge, like Venus, wholly formed from a half shell. Rather, it is fashioned, or cobbled up, from day to day, month to month out of vexations, arguments, failures, and triumphs of hard-pressed, over-stressed officials and civil servants." As one of those over-stressed civil servants, Cooper has unique, behind-the-scenes insights into the personalities of many now historic individuals, including Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Dean Rusk, Allen Dulles, John Foster Dulles, Averell Harriman, Anthony Eden, Harold Wilson, Nikita Khrushchev, and Ho Chi Minh.

Cooper’s reflections on the friendships, animosities, and enduring relationships within the network of government insiders reveal the human side of policy-making and offer important lessons for the future course of international relations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There’s [a] book that reflects the nation’s history since World War II that is simply a gem…it is the rare memoir that is so fascinating, so informative, and written with such a light hand that one is both eager and reluctant to finish it. Such is In the Shadows of History: 50 Years Behind the Scenes of Cold War Diplomacy…[Cooper] takes the reader behind the scenes as he deals with prime ministers, premiers, and presidents as he quietly and effectively served his nation. Cooper was a witness to and participant in the great events of the last half-century. This book is a gem for anyone interested in those turbulent years."
- Bookviews.com
"Cooper’s memorable memoir is replete with pungent observations of CIA chiefs, cabinet secretaries, and British prime ministers.
- Booklist

"Chester Cooper's vivid memoir should rightly be titled ‘In the Forefront of History.’ An account of his own experiences at the upper echelons of government, it is a valuable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of some of the crucial events of the past century."
Stanley Karnow, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Vietnam: A History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591022947
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Chester L. Cooper (Washington, DC) is now Deputy Director Emeritus at the University of Maryland-Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Joint Global Change Research Institute. He is the author or editor of four books and has contributed articles, op-ed pieces, and book reviews to the New York Times, Washington Post, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, among other publications.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    Inside story

    An accurate fascinating account of how our foreign affairs establishment works from a long time insider with no ax to grind

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