Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years [NOOK Book]

Overview

"Without question this is an important new addition to World War II and Cold War historiography.... Highly recommended." —Douglas Brinkley, author of Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years and The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey beyond the White House

"A remarkably objective, yet sympathetic, study of Louis Johnson’s life and career. Now only half-remembered,... Johnson was a major national figure. Colorful, aggressive, independent-minded, egotistical, his strong views and conflicts with Dean Acheson proved to be his undoing. All in all, ...

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Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years

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Overview

"Without question this is an important new addition to World War II and Cold War historiography.... Highly recommended." —Douglas Brinkley, author of Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years and The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey beyond the White House

"A remarkably objective, yet sympathetic, study of Louis Johnson’s life and career. Now only half-remembered,... Johnson was a major national figure. Colorful, aggressive, independent-minded, egotistical, his strong views and conflicts with Dean Acheson proved to be his undoing. All in all, a fascinating tale." —James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense

"McFarland and Roll have performed a real service in rescuing from obscurity this Democratic mover and shaker. Their account of the rise and fall of Louis Johnson provides us with the fullest depiction yet of an important Washington figure employed for better or worse as a blunt instrument of policy change by both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman." —Alonzo L. Hamby, author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman and For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s

"[Johnson’s] career is a cautionary tale of how even the most ruthlessly effective men can become pawns in the Washington power game. McFarland and Roll bring Johnson to life in this thorough and well-told history." —Evan Thomas, Newsweek, author of Robert Kennedy: His Life and The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA

Louis Johnson was FDR’s Assistant Secretary of War and the architect of the industrial mobilization plans that put the nation on a war footing prior to its entry into World War II. Later, as Truman’s Secretary of Defense, Johnson was given the difficult job of unifying the armed forces and carrying out Truman’s orders to dramatically reduce defense expenditures. In both administrations, he was asked to confront and carry out extremely unpopular initiatives—massive undertakings that each president believed were vital to the nation’s security and economic welfare. Johnson’s conflicts with Henry Morganthau, Secretary of War Harry H. Woodring, Winston Churchill, Harry Hopkins, Dean Acheson, Averell Harriman, and Paul Nitze find contemporary parallels in the recent disagreements between the national defense establishment and the State Department.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This scholarly biography of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson (1891-1966) will be an important resource for the study of American defense policy. After serving in WWI, Johnson was active in veterans' affairs until he was appointed assistant secretary of war in 1937. Under FDR, he did valuable work in preparing for wartime procurement and mobilization; later, in 1948, his work as a Democratic fund-raiser brought him to the Pentagon as secretary of defense. Talented as he was, however, Johnson was a difficult personality who did not get along well with Secretary of War Harry Woodring or the navy. His budget cutting was extreme and involved canceling the supercarrier United States, which provoked the notorious 1949 "Revolt of the Admirals." Further disagreements with Secretary of State Dean Acheson and with President Truman culminated in Johnson's dismissal in the early stages of the Korean War. Though the authors may go too far in their denigration of Truman's leadership-two egos the size of Acheson's and Johnson's are hard to handle in one cabinet-they are right to point out that many of Johnson's problems derived from his position as an early internationalist and advocate of preparedness. He may have lacked tact but not insight or ability. The authors give Johnson credit for his many very real achievements, and at least partly rescue his reputation from historians loyal to Truman and the U.S. Navy. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A remarkably objective, yet sympathetic, study of Louis Johnson’s life and career. Now only half—remembered,... Johnson was a major national figure. Colorful, aggressive, independent—minded, egotistical, his strong views and conflicts with Dean Acheson proved to be his undoing. All in all, a fascinating tale." —James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense

"McFarland and Roll have performed a real service in rescuing from obscurity this Democratic mover and shaker. Their account of the rise and fall of Louis Johnson provides us with the fullest depiction yet of an important Washington figure employed for better or worse as a blunt instrument of policy change by both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman." —Alonzo L. Hamby, author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman and For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s

"Without question this is an important new addition to World War II and Cold War historiography.... Highly recommended." —Douglas Brinkley, author of Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years and The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey beyond the White House

"[Johnson’s] career is a cautionary tale of how even the most ruthlessly effective men can become pawns in the Washington power game. McFarland and Roll bring Johnson to life in this thorough and well—told history." —Evan Thomas, Newsweek, author of Robert Kennedy: His Life and The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA

"... If Patrick Henry was right about the 'lamp of experience' as our only guide to the future, then this book should be read by all who work within the defense community. The authors offer insightful and timeless conclusions about the personalities that clash and the relationships that form at the very highest levels of the American government. —Parameters http://carlisle—www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/06autumn/au" —rev.htm

Indiana University Press

Douglas Brinkley

"Without question this is an important new addition to World War II and Cold War historiography.... Highly recommended." —Douglas Brinkley, author of Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years and The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey beyond the White House

James R. Schlesinger

"A remarkably objective, yet sympathetic, study of Louis Johnson’s life and career. Now only half—remembered,... Johnson was a major national figure. Colorful, aggressive, independent—minded, egotistical, his strong views and conflicts with Dean Acheson proved to be his undoing. All in all, a fascinating tale." —James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense

Alonzo L. Hamby

"McFarland and Roll have performed a real service in rescuing from obscurity this Democratic mover and shaker. Their account of the rise and fall of Louis Johnson provides us with the fullest depiction yet of an important Washington figure employed for better or worse as a blunt instrument of policy change by both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman." —Alonzo L. Hamby, author of Man of the People: A Life of Harry S. Truman and For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s

Evan Thomas

"[Johnson’s] career is a cautionary tale of how even the most ruthlessly effective men can become pawns in the Washington power game. McFarland and Roll bring Johnson to life in this thorough and well—told history." —Evan Thomas, Newsweek, author of Robert Kennedy: His Life and The Very Best Men: The Early Years of the CIA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253111647
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 10/4/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • File size: 688 KB

Meet the Author

Keith D. McFarland is President of Texas A&M University–Commerce and author of Harry H. Woodring: A Political Biography of FDR’s Controversial Secretary of War and The Korean War: An Annotated Bibliography. He lives in Commerce, Texas.

David L. Roll is a partner in the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP whose practice focuses on antitrust and administrative law. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments

Introduction
1. Bedford Blood
2. Foot in the Door
3. Like Feuding Schoolboys
4. "Basic Shift in Mobilization Planning"
5. Understanding FDR
6. Surviving FDR
7. "But You Promised Me"
8. Personal Representative of the President
9. Long Shot Pays Off
10. Inside the Pentagon
11. Revolt of the Admirals
12. "Like a Meatchopper on Roundsteak"
13. "My God, the Russians Have the Bomb"
14. Entangling Alliance
15. "Till the Dust Settles"
16. Last Week in June
17. "Give Me Two American Divisions and I Can Hold Korea"
18. Means of Descent
19. "Lou, I've Got to Ask You to Quit"
20. "Lest Darkness Come"
Conclusion

Notes
Select Bibliography
Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2005

    Absorbing narrative of a player in 'Interesting times'

    This history can be fairly grouped with McCullough's 'Truman' and Acheson's 'Present at the Creation' for any study of postwar (WWII) national and international politics. I found it a quick and easy read, informative and well written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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